Agenda and minutes

Performance Scrutiny Committee - Place and Corporate - Monday, 28th February, 2022 4.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Neil Barnett  Scrutiny Adviser

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Councillors Martyn Kellaway, Graham Berry and Mark Whitcutt.

 

2.

Declaration of Interest

Minutes:

None.

3.

Minutes of the previous meeting held on 24 January 2022 pdf icon PDF 410 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meetings held on 24th January 2022 were approved as a true and accurate record.

 

4.

Economic Recovery Strategy - Update Report pdf icon PDF 320 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Invitees:

-       Councillor Jane Mudd – Leader of the Council

-       Tracey Brooks – Head of Regeneration, Investment and Housing

-       Matt Tribbeck – Regeneration Manager

 

The Leader gave a brief overview of the report before the Committee. The pandemic had intensified the need to focus on outcomes for people that promoted resilience and sustainability, rather than just focus on growth. She reported that the Council had done a lot of work aligning the objectives of our economic growth strategy to recovery whilst ensuring how to best focus on the economy going forward. Targets and priorities had been set and we had been able to distribute significant amounts of money through rate relief and various grant schemes. This had involved a huge effort across a number of Service Areas.

Newport’s economic response to the pandemic had also relied on collaboration with partners to find the most innovative solutions, and businesses were involved in decisions that affected groups such as Newport BID. Collaboration remained key to delivering the Council’s Well-being Objectives around improving skills, educational outcomes and employment opportunities. Some important actions to date had been the securing of over £15m from the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns framework, and some significant projects had progressed such as the restoration of the Market Arcade and the redevelopment of the indoor market.

 

The Empty Property Group, a multi-disciplinary group led by the Regeneration, Investment & Housing service, was set up and sought to bring about the re-use or demolition of key vacant properties in the City.  In 2020, officers and elected members participated in training sessions facilitated by Welsh Government on how to tackle long-term empty properties through enforcement action. An action plan, since approved by Welsh Government, had now begun to be implemented which targeted specific, problematic properties in the city.

Newport Council also supported organisations to apply to the UK Government’s Community Renewal Fund. This enabled local organisations and groups to access funding up to the value of £3 million pound to deliver various schemes focused on investment in skills, local businesses and communities while supporting people into employment. 7 bids were successful and awarded funding, and would be primarily focused on skills, employment and rejuvenation of areas in Newport, and tertiary education. A successful bid to this fund saw a programme to link young people in Newport to a range of career opportunities in the screen sector, provided placements and work experience opportunities for Coleg Gwent students and created strong, ongoing links between education in Newport, screen sector employers and organisations and Careers Wales. Also, the Newport Youth Academy programme which offers a range of vocational qualifications and careers pathways for 16 and 19 years olds identified as NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) enrolled a number of students and of those who had left the programme, the vast majority were successful in gaining positive destinations and achieved accredited qualifications.

 

The Head of Regeneration, Investment and Housing stated that the recovery strategyin the original report had stood the Council in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Carbon Management Plan – Progress Monitoring pdf icon PDF 338 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Invitees:

-       Councillor Jason Hughes – Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development

-       Ross Cudlip – Carbon Reduction Manager

 

The Cabinet member for Sustainable Development introduced the item stating that this was Committee’s first consideration of the Council’s Carbon Management Plan 2018-2022. He acknowledged the challenges ahead and said we had built a strong foundation and could be proud of our achievements to date. The Carbon Reduction Manager gave a Powerpoint presentation setting out the Council’s vision, mission, objectives and strategy for carbon reduction from 2018 until 2022 and beyond.

 

Key points highlighted were:

-       The ultimate target of the CMP is for the Council to achieve Carbon Neutrality by 2030 with plans running from 2018-2022, 2022-2026 and 2026 until 2030.

 

-       Aim to be a globally responsible organisation by decarbonising our buildings, fleet and operations while reducing our costs and environmental impact for the benefit of future generations.

 

-       Progress against 5 key objectives :-

·         Reduce total carbon emissions in the shortest possible timeframe  -  Currently ahead of target

·         Make our buildings more energy efficient and improve user comfort - Draught-proofing and new lighting has improved user comfort in some buildings. This will to be replicated across the entire estate.

·         Reduce our total energy demand and dependence on imported energy through the use of on- site renewable energy generation - 7% of the electricity we consumed in 2020/21 was generated from solar PV panels on our roof. In the future we will need to maximise this proportion.

·         Reduce our business travel, fuel consumption and transition our fleet to electric or alternatively fuelled vehicles - All of these metrics are being progressed as we move to video conferencing and an electric fleet.

·         Where opportunities arise, engage with and support external organisations working to reduce carbon emissions in the Newport area -We have supported diocese schools with community solar installations and engaged with other public sector organisations on a range of matters.

 

Members then asked the following:

 

·         Members commented that it was pleasing that we had a dedicated Carbon Reduction Manager post for this very important issue. It was then asked that in order to achieve 100% reduction in carbon emissions would require some offsetting. How could reduction be maintained each year?

 

The Carbon Reduction Manager responded that the reduction levels were not linear but rather a reduction each year. We were now at the stage of delivering retrofits for our buildings that had greatest consumptions and this would give us a reasonable idea of the measures we could take to achieve reductions each year. The ambition was to remove as much gas use from our estate so that we would be able to bring in zero carbon electricity to replace it.

 

·         If our street lighting columns were LED and were there any grants available for domestic solar panel installation?

 

The Carbon Reduction Manager explained that not all the lighting columns had suitable fittings for LED lighting but the vast majority of our stock was now LED lighting. In  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Live event