Agenda and minutes

Communities Scrutiny Group - Thursday, 16th March, 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Rushcliffe Arena, Rugby Road, West Bridgford. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services 

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


Councillor Mallender declared a non-pecuniary interest in relation to 2.8 on the Carbon Management Plan 2022, as he is employed in the EV charging industry.


Minutes of the meeting held on 19 January 2023 pdf icon PDF 238 KB


Councillor Jones highlighted that a question raised by the Vice Chair with regards to the Youth Forum item and her suggestion of a collective group of headteachers from the secondary schools had not been addressed. The Service Manager – Neighbourhoods explained that the representative from County Council was not aware of a collective Group, however he would follow up on this and advise the Group in a separate note after the meeting.


The minutes of the meeting held on 19 July 2023 were approved and signed by the Chairman


Carbon Management Plan pdf icon PDF 387 KB

Report of the Director - Neighbourhoods

Additional documents:


The Communities Manager provided a brief introduction and reminded the Group on 20 March 2020, Cabinet agreed a target to become carbon neutral by 2030 from the Council’s direct operations and adopt a Carbon Management Action Plan to monitor progress against the target emissions.


The Group noted the Carbon Management Action Plan sets out how the Council will seek to drive carbon behaviour change through its policy and regulation work and to actively influence residents and businesses across the Borough.


The Communities Manager referred to the Council’s Carbon Management Plan 2022, which was attached as an appendix to the report, and highlighted the 8 main themes:


1.     Property Assets

2.     Fleet and Transport

3.     Contracts and Procurement

4.     Policy and Regulation

5.     Waste and Recycling

6.     Operational Activities

7.     Community and Business

8.     Offsetting


It was noted the Carbon Management Plan was a living document which provides an action plan and overview of activities. A number of case studies were shared as an appendix from Green Grants, an energy efficiency scheme in partnership with Nottingham Energy Partnership (NEP), Eon Energy, Thrift Energy Group and the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy.


The Team Manager for Environment delivered a presentation to highlight some of the projects recently completed.


Rushcliffe Country Park Net 0 Visitor Centre and Conference Suite


An innovative and enhanced amenity building, including an air source heat pump system, solar panels, EV charging point and a Changing Places site. The venue can be hired externally to create income and is being enjoyed by officers as an alternative healthy meeting space.


Bingham Arena and Bingham Enterprise Centre


Recently opened, the leisure centre has a low carbon construction, with solar electric and air source heat pump creating combined heat and power across the site. The building has a 2000 litre water harvesting tank which is used to flush the toilets providing significant savings. The Group were asked to note that Bingham Arena has a 78% Carbon reduction from a traditionally constructed leisure centre.





Rushcliffe Oaks Crematorium


Not yet completed the crematorium boasts a technically Net 0 gain through REGO (Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin), 30kWh solar electric system to cover off the majority of the lighting and office equipment, an electric cremator, green roof and emission filtering system and biodiversity enhancements throughout. This is an innovative approach, whilst being compassionate and respectful for all users.


The Team Manager for Environment provided the Group with details of the Local Authority Delivery 2 and the more recent Sustainable Warm Competition (LAD 3 and Heating Upgrde Grants (HUG)), advising that to date £2m had been drawn in to 77 properties identified in East Leake. The Communities Manager added that Officers looked at the worst energy rated properties across the authority with ratings of F and G and advised the Group of the shared case studies attached as an appendix to the report.


The Team Manager for Environment advised that the Council had agreed a 2 year programme to decarbonise Cotgrave leisure centre and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.


Environment Policy pdf icon PDF 157 KB

Report of the Director - Neighbourhoods

Additional documents:


The Senior Ecology and Sustainability Officer presented the report of the Director – Neighbourhoods and delivered a presentation on the Council’s Environment Policy for the period 2023-2028.


The Group were asked to consider whether the updated Environment Policy meets the overarching aims of the Council in relation to the environment in which it operates. 


The Senior Ecology and Sustainability Officer explained that the Environment is one of the Council’s strategic priorities and as an employer and a provider of services, the Council needs to ensure its activities do not harm, but positively enhance the environment and by adopting the Environment Policy as set out in the report it will assist in the direction of other policies, procedures and working practices, including the influence we can have on the community through our own actions.


The Group were reminded of the Council’s commitments 1 -7 as follows:


1.     Environmental Improvement

2.     Legislation

3.     Energy and Water

4.     Waste Management and Recycling

5.     Environment Protection

6.     Use of Materials

7.     Planning and Transportation


With two additional commitments derived from Motions passed at Council:


8.     Natural Environment

9.     Climate Change


The Senior Ecology and Sustainability Officer explained that delivery of the policy would be various officers and Council services, including Planning Policy, Planning and Growth, Environmental Health, Property Services and Streetwise.


Members expressed how pleased they were to see the additional commitments and acknowledged the Council has a legal duty and moral responsibility to protect the environment now and for future communities.


Councillor Mallender asked a specific question in relation to a baseline for where the Council needs to be looking to make improvements and whether there were any records of animal habitats that have been affected or destroyed due to environmental changes, (providing the absence of hedgehogs in urban areas as an example). The Senior Ecology and Sustainability Officer informed the Group that there are only limited historical records on animals, with wild birds better recorded, and that the baseline would need to be developed.


Councillor Mallender in response expressed this gives the Council a great opportunity for increasing biodiversity by reintroducing absent or declining species.


Councillor Mallender suggested ecological surveys be done on areas before any development starts and prevent land from purposefully being degraded for development. Councillor Mallender requested that developers should be discouraged from putting up solid fencing and encouraged to replace marked boundaries with new hedgerows. The Senior Ecology and Sustainability Officer explained that in relation to land being degraded for future development the Council can use aerial photography from 2022 as a baseline.


The Group also noted the Council’s commitment to increase hedgerows across the Borough by 40%.


Councillor Jones raised concerns in relation to the development at Sharphill, where subsoil/topsoil has been removed for landscaping and tree planting, thus removing the health of the original habitats of birds, insects and small animals. The Senior Ecology and Sustainability Officer advised that there was no legislation in place ensuring and improvement of biodiversity when Sharphill was granted planning, going  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 141 KB

Report of the Director – Finance and Corporate Services


The Chairman presented the report of the Director – Finance and Corporate Services, which detailed the proposed Communities Scrutiny Group work for 2023/2024.


It was RESOLVED that Communities Scrutiny Group consider its Work Programme and that the following item for scrutiny was agreed.


July 2023 (TBC)


·       Review of the Empty Homes Strategy and Council Tax Implications


October 2023 (TBC)


·       Future Topics TBC


January 2024 (TBC)


·       Future Topics TBC


March 2024 (TBC)


·       Future Topics TBC


The Chairman noted that the Work Programme was light on items going forward and the asked members of the Group to submit a scrutiny matrix for any items they wish to be considered for scrutiny.


The Group noted that this was the last meeting of Communities Scrutiny Group for 2022/23 and that the membership is likely to change with new elected Councillors potentially bringing fresh ideas to be considered.