Questions on Notice under Standing Order No 6 (Agenda item 7)
Councillor Morton to the Executive Member for Customer Engagement & Member Champion for Breckland Sustainability Strategy:
Can the Cabinet Member for Sustainability confirm that an application for funding under the Green Homes Grant Local Authority Delivery Scheme, which closes on 4th December, was made?
Monthly electricity consumption figures show that unmetered street lighting accounts for over a third of our annual usage at 593721 KWh for year ending March 2020. It is encouraging to see the March 2020 figure of 42664 is 12000 down on the previous year. Can the Member for Climate Change confirm if this is expected to continue and what has contributed to this dramatic reduction of 22%?
Councillor Wickerson to the Executive Member of Planning:
Firstly, thanks to Simon Wood for responding to my Question without Notice from the last Full Council meeting, which, in itself was helpful, but did generate further questions which I hope can be answered in writing accordingly.
Can we please see a comparative report showing similar figures for the past 10 years to enable a full picture of the historic extent of Planning Enforcement workload?
In addition, it would be helpful to understand how many of the “closed” cases related to genuine Enforcement issues which required full Officer time as opposed to those that were immediately “closed” as not genuinely falling under the auspices of Planning Enforcement.
Councillor Birt to the Executive Member for Customer Engagement & Member Champion for Breckland Sustainability Strategy:
After some difficulty and delay I have now received the electricity consumption figures which formed the answer to my question raised at the 24 September meeting. These figures are a useful measure to help show our progress in reducing our climate impact. It has been agreed that I will receive regular updates and I suggest these be more widely disclosed to Members and Residents via our website.
This measure is an important 'Key Performance Indicator' but is only a start.
- What other KPIs will we be able to use?
- Will data from these KPIs be made available immediately, even if it is provisional or incomplete?
Cllr Birt to Executive Member for Planning:
I would have liked to have asked this question of the Local Plan Working Group; however, they have not met for many months so that has not been possible.
Referring to the Breckland Local Plan, Local Development Scheme (LDS) section 2.3; it states we must keep the LDS under review and the LDS will be monitored on an annual basis, part of which includes a Monitoring Report.
It has been a year since we adopted the Local Plan, so a Monitoring Report is due. Please would the Executive Member for Planning give us a summary of its findings and release the Monitoring Report for inspection.
The responses to the questions raised under this Standing Order had been emailed to all Members prior to the Full Council meeting (see attached).
Under this Standing Order and according to the Council’s Constitution, amember asking a question (under paragraph 6.1 or 6.2 of the Constitution) may ask one supplementary question, without notice, of the member to whom the first question was put or by whom it was answered. The supplementary question must arise directly out of the original question or the reply.
The following supplementary questions were asked.
Councillor Morton was pleased to learn that the Council had applied for the ‘Green Homes’ grant and asked that Members were kept informed of progress. He hoped that this was the first of many applications that the Council made to the ‘Green’ schemes going forward and if successful would data be collected to evaluate the financial and carbon benefits for the insulations work that was being carried out.
In response, Councillor Sherwood, the Executive Member for Customer Engagement & Member Champion for Breckland Sustainable Strategy advised that, as part of the Norfolk Green Homes funding bid, the Council was planning to nominate a Park Homes site in Breckland for insulation works. The properties must be of an EPC rating of E, F or G and such homes had to fall within certain financial criteria. He did not have an exact answer to the question as to whether this would be monitored but he presumed that it would, and a written response would be provided to Councillor Morton in due course.
Councillor Morton asked a supplementary question in respect of his second question. He asked Councillor Sherwood if he could provide a written response to confirm whether street lighting was metered and if so, how they were analysed, and how many streetlights had been converted to LED as of March 2020.
Councillor Sherwood advised that he was aware that the cost of streetlighting had reduced due to the lamps being switched to LED bulbs and would be happy to provide an response in writing.
Councillor Wickerson thanked Simon Wood, the Director of Planning & Building Control for his very detailed response to his question with notice. He did have a supplementary question but as it was equally detailed, he would be presenting that to him in writing and continue his dialogue on the planning enforcement issue with the Director of Planning & Building Control accordingly.
Councillor Birt had noted that Key Performance Indicator decisions would be dealt with in the next year and he looked forward to reviewing these in January. However, he felt that his question had not been fully answered in that he had asked whether the data that he had been provided with, on electricity consumption, could be disclosed on the Council’s website as this would be useful for assessments and carbon targets and felt that such data should be available to everyone.
In response, Councillor Sherwood advised that the information that had already been supplied to Councillor Birt had not contained the granular level of detail as this was currently being considered. The data requested contained information on tenants and users of the Council’s buildings which could be considered as private and confidential and therefore there was no plans to publish that level of detail at this present time.
The key performance indicators were crucial to monitor and the Council had a good suite of reporting methods and once it was understood exactly what important issues needed to be monitored, the reporting system would be appropriately adapted.
Councillor Birt also asked Councillor Paul Claussen, the Executive Member for Planning a supplementary question in respect of the Local Plan and the Monitoring report. He felt that the response provided had shown that a Monitoring report had not been produced even though such reports should be mandatory and asked if the Council had sufficient resources to be able to fulfil this monitoring arrangement.
In response, Councillor Claussen advised that the Council did have enough resources during normal times but was unsure whether it had remained the same during this pandemic. He was aware that many Officers were carrying out work not related to planning and he had not been surprised by Councillor Birt’s comments but, as far as he was concerned, the Planning department did have sufficient resource in normal times.