Agenda item

Questions to the Cabinet Members

To provide an opportunity to pose questions to Cabinet Members in line with Standing Orders.

 

Process:

No more than 10 minutes will be allocated at the Council meeting for questions to each Cabinet Member.

 

Members must submit their proposed questions in writing in advance in accordance with Standing Orders.  If members are unable to ask their question orally within the allocated time, remaining questions will be answered in writing.  The question and response will be appended to the minutes.

 

The question must be addressed through the Mayor or the person presiding at the meeting and not directly to the person being questioned.

 

Questions will be posed to Cabinet Members in the following order:

 

      i.        Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for City Services

     ii.        Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

    iii.        Cabinet Member for Assets

   iv.        Cabinet Member for Sustainable Development

     v.        Cabinet Member for Community and Resources

   vi.        Cabinet Member for Streetscene

  vii.        Cabinet Member for Licensing and Regulation

 viii.        Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure

Minutes:

There are four written question to the Cabinet Members:

 

Question 1 – Cabinet Member: Licensing and Regulation

 

In Councillor Truman’s absence the following written response was provided to the question from Councillor J Watkins.

 

Councillor J Watkins:

Given the unacceptable levels of Nitrous Oxide and poor air quality across the one-way system in Caerleon, can the Cabinet Member explain why there is no monitoring of the air quality outside Charles Williams Primary School? A school which sits on this system therefore exposing young children to health issues caused by poor air quality?

 

Response:

Environmental Health are very much aware of the concerns of the local community in Caerleon regarding air quality and have been engaging with the head teacher and PTFA for Charles Williams Primary School. This has resulted in diffusion tube monitoring being deployed at the school from July 14th 2021. This will provide data that clarifies the school’s position within the spectrum of air quality that is observed across Caerleon.

 

However, given the nature of air quality data obtained at the nearest monitoring locations to the school it is not anticipated that any breaches of the air quality objective for nitrogen dioxide will be observed at Charles Williams School.

 

 

Question 2 – Deputy Leader/Cabinet Member: City Services

 

Councillor Mogford:

 

My question is on road safety and whether Newport City Council plans to roll out further 20MPH restrictions on our roads?

 

On 7 May 2019 the First Minister in the Senedd, Mark Drakeford said –

 

‘We know that 20mph zones reduce speed of traffic, reduce accidents –particularly accidents to children–and we want to see that become the default position right across Wales.’ 

 

No doubt he was not the first person to ever utter these words of wisdom about the dangers associated with speeding traffic. In the Langstone Ward we have been seeking such speed reductions for years.

 

Could the cabinet member update the council on the roll out of 20 mph zones in Newport and clarify what local consultation is being planned to support any decisions taken locally?

 

Does the Cabinet member consider that roads and school entrances regularly used by children should be amongst the highest priority for imposing speed reductions?

 

Response:

Welsh Government has recently announced that the role out of 20mph limits will form part of its initial programme of work. This is a national policy change and as such consultation is being led by Welsh Government. This was launched last week and can be found on the Welsh Government website. Locally consultation is held through the statutory TRO process.

 

Newport has already rolled out trial areas across the city and we are awaiting the detailed guidance from Welsh Government to conclude the full roll out. The current anticipated timeline for completion is 18 months.

 

Safety at schools will continue to be a priority for both Welsh Government and the Newport City Council under this legislative change.  

 

The Member will be aware that the Langstone Primary School learner entrance is already traffic calmed and covered by an existing 20mph zone as part of a previous Welsh Government initiative to improve road safety at schools.

 

Supplementary:

Councillor Mogford referred to a previous Council Question that half of the Newport Schools had a speed limit greater than 20mph.  Would the Cabinet Member give assurance that the speed limit would be reduced to 20mph outside Langstone school as this was in the gift of Newport City Council to do this.

 

Response:

The Langstone Primary School Learner Entrance already had in place traffic calming measures and was covered by a 20mph zone as part of the WG initiative to promote safety in schools, the other two entrances were off road.

 

Councillor Mogford asked for clarity on whether the Cabinet Member mentioned that one of the entrances was off road.  The Cabinet Member would provide a written response.

 

Councillor Spencer raised a point of order regarding the Standing Orders in relation to supplementary questions and the Monitoring Officer confirmed that only one supplementary question should be allowed to clarify any points arising from the original answer.

 

The Chief Executive reminded members that the Mayor was in the Chair and asked them to adhere to the correct process in relation to the Cabinet Member questions, which stipulates a single question and a single supplementary only, within the timeframe allowed.

 

Question 3 – Cabinet Member: Sustainable Development

 

Councillor J Watkins:

 

Some Councils are installing plant carpets across the top of Bus Shelters in an effort to support the Bee population.

 

Given this Authority made a commitment to supporting an increase in the declining Bee population, a fact which is a serious matter for concern, will this Council commit to the installation of these plant carpets across Newport and as a matter of urgency?

 

Response:

Reversing biodiversity decline is a fundamental priority for this administration.

 

I am happy to confirm that we have already allocated funding for a number of bee friendly bus shelters, which will be installed later in the year.

 

Such shelters are not suitable everywhere and many of our new bus shelters will instead have solar panels installed to support the councils carbon reduction plan.

 

As you will be aware Newport has been awarded official bee friendly status and over the last two years we have implemented a range of initiatives, such as:

 

·        Support for plant life “no mow may” to provide early sources of nectar for bees

·        Setting aside land as natural meadows for pollinators

·        Reducing the use of pesticides by investing in mechanical alternatives for weed removal

·        Requiring a large bee friendly green roof on the new leisure facility

 

We are often asked by residents how they can support pollinators, so we have put together a guidance video that will be launched shortly.

 

Supplementary:

Given that we are already in summer, where bees would need this support, what did the Cabinet Member mean by ‘later in the year’?

 

Response:

The new bus shelters have been purchased however, work would have to be undertaken to make these changes.  Currently the focus on the bee policy was on the mowing of grass, this was also being undertaken within the Caerleon ward.

 

 

Question 4 – Cabinet Member: Leisure and Culture

 

Councillor M Evans:

 

At the last Council meeting, you were asked by Cllr Charles Ferris when did you last have a meeting with the National Trust?

 

In your reply you stated there were no formal requirements under the lease to do this, but you didn’t state the last time you met with them. So please can you inform us how many times have you met with them, regarding Tredegar House since you became Cabinet Member?

 

Can you also tell us if you believe the transfer of Tredegar House to the National Trust was the right decision to make?

 

Response:

I am unable to confirm the exact number of times I have met with the National Trust but suffice to say I have always accepted an invitation to meet, the last one was with your Deputy Councillor Routley. The Covid 19 pandemic has interrupted such meetings but as restrictions ease I look forward to meeting the Trust again.

 

In respects of my view on the transfer of the site to the National Trust I wasn’t the Cabinet Member at the time.

 

Supplementary:

 

Councillor Evans suggested that he was requesting further information on the relationship the Cabinet Member had with the National Trust.  Councillor Evans made reference to debt that had incurred happened prior to 2008, and that the arrangement of Tredegar House being taken over by the National Trust was successful.

 

Response:

The Cabinet Member queried whether there was a question in what Councillor Evans had put as a supplementary. She had nothing further to add to her original reply.