Venue: Council Chamber, Rushcliffe Arena, Rugby Road, West Bridgford. View directions
Contact: Democratic Services
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest reported.
The minutes of the meeting held on 27 July 2022 were approved as a true record and were signed by the Chairman.
The Chairman reminded the Group that the Scrutiny Matrix submitted specified that Councillors wanted to understand the situation in Rushcliffe regarding the sewage infrastructure and any unlawful discharges.
Richard Cooper, Sustainable Places Team Leader at the Environment Agency delivered a presentation outlining planning and wastewater from the perspective of the Environment Agency.
Mr Cooper advised the Group that in respect of strategic planning the Environment Agency would normally provide comment on documents that form part of a local plan, including Water Cycle Strategy, Strategic Flood risk Assessments, Surface Water Management Plans, Strategic Infrastructure Plans, Environmental or Green Infrastructure Study, Strategic Housing and Employment Land Availability Assessments as well as main planning documents (Local Plans). Mr Cooper advised that in most cases such comments would be in the line of:
· All development should connect to the existing foul drainage network
· Development will need to ensure there’s available capacity within;
a) The receiving sewerage network; and
b) The sewage treatment works
· Developers and the Local Planning Authority should confirm available capacity with the water company prior to allocating sites
· Development and Growth should not impact on the quality of watercourses in the Borough
It was noted that in respect of developmental planning the Environment agency would respond to a major development (10 or more dwellings) or where a proposal is not to connect to mains drainage.
Mr Cooper provided the drainage hierarchy as follows:
1. Infiltration to ground
2. Discharge to surface waterbody
3. Discharge to surface water sewer/highway drain or other
4. To a combined sewer
The group were provided with an explanation of how the sewerage system works, from wastewater (foul) being flushed away from properties, flowing to a local wastewater treatment works (WWTW), to then arriving for treatment before being discharged back into the watercourse. It was noted that in older systems both foul and surface water use the same pipe (combined system) and newer systems have separate pipes. However, whilst new housing schemes will have separate systems, it does not mean the system further downstream is separate.
In respect of rainwater some WWTW have storm tanks that provide storage when the incoming flow is greater than the capacity to treat. However, if the storm tanks are full, then to prevent the treatment works being flooded or the foul water backing up, the wastewater is allowed to spill. If pumping stations fail or breakdown then these too are allowed to spill. It was noted that such spills are monitored by the Government.
Mr Cooper explained that the Environment Agency administrates and regulates wastewater spills under the Environmental Permitting Regulations, adding that there is no limit on how often a storm overflow operates providing it is compliant with the permit. It was noted that the WWTW at Cotgrave has closed with the Radcliffe on Trent WWTW now receiving their sewage, adding that discharges are made directly into the River Trent. Mr Cooper advised that the WWTW at Radcliffe on Trent does have limits on when it should overflow but not ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
The Service Manager – Economic Growth and Property and the Economic Growth Officer delivered a presentation in respect of Covid-19 Business Recovery, which provided the Group with an update on the work being done to support businesses to recover from the impact of the Covid pandemic.
The Group were provided with statistical data in respect of unemployment claims, job vacancies and business closures and were advised that the D2N2 LEP had provided an analysis of Rushcliffe’s labour market demands, which showed there were 800 unique jobs advertised between January and July 2022.
The Service Manager – Economic Growth and Property explained that during the pandemic, the Economic Growth Team had monitored the vacancy rates in our main towns and villages and reported that the majority of the town centres had very few or no empty units, with only a couple in West Bridgford, Bingham and Radcliffe on Trent. It was noted that in August the occupancy level at Council owned industrial units was at 100% and the new yet to be opened Bingham Enterprise Centre already had four interested parties.
The Economic Growth Officer informed the Group of some of the activities that had been delivered using the Welcome Back Funding from the European Regional Development Fund to support the safe reopening of our town centres.
Some of this funding went to the following activities:
· The appointment of a temporary town centre consultant from September 2021 to June 2022.
· Enhanced and additional events in West Bridgford and some of the larger towns and villages
· Improvements to the visual appearance of town centres
· Promotion of job vacancies on the Council’s Social Media platforms
· Ongoing communications campaigns e.g. Shop Local Shop Safe
· Exploring opportunities for Digital promotion of high streets e.g. West Bridgford Way
· Rushcliffe Business Partnership networking events in West Bridgford and Ruddington
· Continue to build on relationships with high street businesses – retail forums and WhatsApp groups
· Rushcliffe Big Business Carbon Club established to encourage larger businesses to act as champions to deliver a greener economic recovery
It was noted that the Economic Growth Team work closely with external agencies to sign post businesses and tailor support as required, primarily the D2N2 Growth Hub offering a range of business support and advice.
The Economic Growth Officer informed the Group of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF), and Rushcliffe’s allocation of £2,571,46 to be spent over 3 years (2022/23 to 2024/25) as follows:
2022/23 - £312,071
2023/24 - £624,141
2024/25 - £1,635,250
The Economic Growth Officer advised the Group that an investment plan had been submitted on 1 August and the funding can be used from April 2022 to support activities as prescribed within the investment support priorities of the UKSPF which are, Community and Place, Business Support and People and Skills (People and Skills from 2024/25).
It was noted that lead local authorities across Nottinghamshire are encouraged to work with local partners to deliver on the UK Governments wider commitment to level up all parts of the UK by delivering ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
Report of the Director - Finance and Corporate Services
The Chairman highlighted the absence of new scrutiny items and suggested that Sewerage Infrastructure and Discharge within Rushcliffe be brought back to a future meeting in the new year. He also asked the Group to consider new scrutiny items that could be put forward to the Corporate Overview Group using the Council’s Scrutiny Matrix.
It was RESOLVED that the Group consider its Work Programme and that the following items for scrutiny were agreed.
4 January 2023
· UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF)
· Work Programme
8 March 2023
· Sewerage Infrastructure and Discharge within Rushcliffe (to be approved)
· Work Programme
ACTIONS – 21 September 2022