Agenda and minutes

Economic Development & Managed Growth Scrutiny Board
Monday 18th January 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: PLEASE NOTE that any member of the press and public may view the proceedings at this virtual meeting via this weblink https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC7DDSVoAIgTnwgp0Ku8iFLQ

Contact: Paul Rogers  Email: paul.rogers@solihull.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

No apologies for absence were received.

2.

Declarations of Pecuniary or Conflicts of Interest

Minutes:

No declarations of pecuniary or conflicts of interest were received.

3.

Questions and Deputations

Minutes:

No questions or deputations were received.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 441 KB

To consider for approval the Minutes arising from the Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrytiny Board meeting held on 19 November 2020.

Minutes:

The Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board:

 

RESOLVED:

 

To agree the Minutes arising from the Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board meeting held on 19 November 2020 as an accurate record.

5.

MTFS Update - Budget Strategy 2021/22 - 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 178 KB

To seek comments on the budget proposals identified for 2021/22 to 2023/24 within the Climate Change, Planning and Housing and Growth and Infrastructure Delivery cabinet portfolios, to go forward to the Resources and Delivering Value Scrutiny Board and the Full Cabinet in February 2021.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was presented to the Scrutiny Board by the Finance Manager.

 

The purpose of the report was to seek comments on the budget proposals identified for 2021/22 to 2023/24 within the Climate Change, Planning and Housing and Growth and Infrastructure Delivery Cabinet Portfolios, to go forward to the Resources and Delivering Value Scrutiny Board meeting scheduled for 8 February 2021 and to Full Cabinet on 11th February 2021.

 

Members were advised that the focus of the budget strategy had been on reset and recovery in light of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.  The Budget Strategy Group had agreed to recommend the realignment of budgets within the Children’s and Skills and Economy and Infrastructure portfolios at a cost of £4.050M per annum from 2023/24. The Council was drawing down on some of its Reserves during this period and continued to address both Covid related and none-Covid related pressures.

 

Members attention was drawn to Appendix B of the report, which detailed the Councils proposed Fees and Charges for 2021/22, all of which had been set in light of the fiscal pressures the Council was facing and taking account of the current and forecast inflation.

 

Having received the presentation, Members raised the following questions, which in summary included the following matters:

 

Councillor Howell referenced the detail within the report which highlighted additional investment earmarked for the climate change and economic development agendas respectively and questioned whether the proposed restructure in these service areas provided an opportunity for greater co-ordination of work across both services with the additional investment provided.  It was confirmed that this was the intention arising from the restructure.

 

Councillor McLoughlin made reference to Appendix A of the report, specifically to the pressures on Waste Services and changes to co-mingled waste recycling and property growth and queried whether property growth in the borough would not off-set this pressure. Officers confirmed that council tax and business rates through property growth would off-set the pressure.

 

In reference to pressures detailed in Appendix A, Councillor Williams queried why in terms of waste disposal for the Bubbenhall site why there was such a variance in forecasting between 2020/21 and 2021/22.  Members were advised that cost pressures arose from transferring waste across different sites for processing, which was subject to additional operational charges.

 

Councillor Parker questioned the impact on the Council’s budget planning from the loss of dividends and related business rates from Birmingham Airport.  Members were advised that the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) had been fully updated to reflect these pressures.

 

Having considered the report, the Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board:

 

RESOLVED:

 

(i)  To note the budget pressures and mitigating actions detailed in Appendix A to the report;

 

(ii)  To note the budget proposals detailed within the report; and,

 

(iii)  To note the Schedule of Fees and Charges proposed for 2021/22 as detailed in Appendix B to the report.

 

 

 

 

 

6.

Clean Air Strategy & Air Quality Monitoring Annual Update DOTX 714 KB

To provide a summary of the action taken to date to implement the Solihull Clean Air Strategy 2019 -2024. This is the second annual update since the strategy was approved. Although COVID 19 has had an impact upon some elements of progress during the year, an overview of key activities is presented to allow review and comments.

 

To provide a summary of the data that has been collected as part of Solihull’s air quality monitoring programme throughout 2020. The data within the report demonstrates that to date, none of the locations within the 2020 monitoring programme exceeded nitrogen dioxide or particulate matter limits.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

An overview to the report was provided by the Senior Public Health Specialist.

 

Members were informed that the Council continued to develop engagement initiatives with schools within the borough to raise the air quality agenda, that the electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the borough was under review and that the Council’s Walking and Cycling Strategy and Infrastructure Plan had been taken to public consultation from which a number of areas had been identified for further improvement and development.

 

Other initiatives and strategies that were being undertaken to both support and deliver the cleaner air agenda within the borough included the Net Zero Action Plan (in progress), Tree Planting Project (objective of planting 25,000 trees in the borough), supporting delivery of the Council’s Climate Emergency Statement and the related Communication Plan (under review).

 

Following the Scrutiny Boards consideration of the Clean Air Strategy and Air Quality Monitoring Annual Update in 2019, Members were invited to suggest other diffusion tube monitoring sites within the borough. Appendix 2 to the report detailed the locations of alternative sites put forward, with a commentary and rationale for not having selected those sites proposed. A total of 22 sites were currently monitored (25 including the school site monitoring programme).

 

Appendix 3 to the report detailed the 2019 and 2020 NO2 monitoring results and were advised that no site had currently exceeded NO2 limits as at month 12 of monitoring.

 

Having received the presentation, Members of the Scrutiny Board raised a number of related questions, which in summary included the following matters:

 

Councillor McLoughlin sought confirmation that no distance adjustment was now used for data compilation purposes and that all diffusion monitoring tubes were sited on facades in compliance with DEFRA guidance. Officers confirmed that this was the case.

 

Councillor McLoughlin queried whether any data had been received from the Transport and Highways service to correlate the reductions in readings between 2019 and 2020 in light of the reduction in vehicle movements during the C-19 pandemic period. Officers advised that they would clarify if any such information could be supplied by the Transport and Highways service.

 

With reference to Council’s the tree planting programme, Councillor McLoughlin noted that the type of tree species planted, location of planting and tree maturity all had an impact on the type and extent of benefits planting brought to an environment, which in turn inferred that a net loss of trees would have a detrimental impact on air quality. As such, Councillor McLoughln referenced a site detailed in the Local Plan which contained a substantial number of trees on the site and noted that it would be a matter of concern in the event that they were removed as a consequence of development of the site.

 

Councillor Howell sought confirmation as to whether the same sites would be monitored in 2021 and whether the Laboratory was operational. Members were informed that owing to restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the monitoring locations used in 2020 would also be used for 2021. Members  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 155 KB

The purpose of the report is to provide Members of the Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board with reference to the Scrutiny Board’s Work Programme for the 2020/2021 municipal year, and to agree agenda setting for the remaining Board meetings scheduled in the 2020/21 municipal year.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Having considered the report, the Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board:

 

RESOLVED:

 

(i)  To receive the following reports at the Scrutiny Board meeting scheduled for 18 March 2021:

 

·  The Council’s Approach to Inclusive Growth

·  Solihull Town Centre Energy Network Update Report

·  Draft SCH Delivery Plan 2021/22

·  Work programme

 

(ii)  To receive the following report at the Scrutiny Board meeting scheduled for June/July 2021 (meeting date and other reports tbc):

 

·  Obstructions to New Housing Provision and Securing Land Supply in Solihull

 

 

 

 

The Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board meeting closed at 7:49 p.m.