Agenda item

Questions from Councillors

To answer questions submitted by Councillors under Standing Order No. 11(2)


a.       Question from Councillor Jones to Councillor Brennan


“The Climate Change Strategy says it will support residents but only in applying for grants - so will this Council, as other Councils have, urgently establish and promote a local, cost reducing scheme with a company installing solar panels to encourage residents to pay to have them installed on their homes?”


In response, Councillor Brennan confirmed that the Council already worked closely with a range of key public sector organisations to monitor the potential for such schemes, and historically the Council had supported a similar bulk buying scheme for energy suppliers run by Nottingham Energy Partnership, so the Council had some experience of this type of initiative.  One of the issues was that the installation of such solar panels was usually fully paid for by residents, and the Council did not actually have to be involved.  As a result, they were usually of most benefit to those who had the means to install panels anyway, so they did not address fuel poverty or perhaps those most in need, unlike schemes including LAD 2 and 3, where the Council had been focusing on properties with very poor thermal efficiency in the East Leake area.


Councillor Brennan advised that the Council would commit to continuing to investigate such opportunities, and she was aware that officers had already been in touch with the Midlands Energy Hub and Nottingham Energy Partnership, to explore if any companies were working in the Borough and wished to progress such a scheme that the Council could link into following the normal due diligence checks.


Supplementary Question


Councillor Jones stated that several other Councils such as those in Kent, Swindon, Cambridge, and Suffolk have made arrangements with assessed companies interested in local volume services, to provide reduced cost installations to paying residents and would this Council get on with promoting roof top micro-generation?

Councillor Brennan reiterated that the Council continued to monitor the situation and if an appropriate project was identified, which would provide value for money and due diligence, then it would be considered.


b.       Question from Councillor Sue Mallender to Councillor Inglis.


“Why, when it's the Council policy to minimise use of weedkiller, has the Council been spraying glyphosates in Bridgford Park and on the Hook resulting in strips of dead grasses and other wild plants up to two feet wide alongside paths, fencing and adjacent children's play areas?”


In response, Councillor Inglis confirmed that sadly, this had been a case of human error, when a member of the grounds maintenance team, who was new to managing those spaces, had unfortunately operated from outdated information.  This had now been rectified and all staff were aware of the new approaches and commitment to managing those sites in an environmentally sensitive manner.


In light of a previous Council Motion, Councillor Inglis advised that the Council over the last year, had significantly reduced the use of weed killer, from spraying eight times over the summer season to twice, and only at a small number of very specific sites, which required localised weed management.  In addition to this, Streetwise had invested in the use of a mechanical path edge cutter to reduce the need for weed spraying along paths and edges in parks and footpaths.  In preparation for Streetwise returning in-house on 1 September, the Council was designing site management plans for all of its parks and nature sites.  Those were being developed with input from services across the Council and with the expertise of the horticulturalists in the ground’s maintenance division. This would result in even further gains in the development and sustainability of the Council’s environmental management practice.


Supplementary Question


Councillor Mallender asked why no public apology had been made for this mistake?


Councillor Inglis advised that he was unaware that an apology had not been made and stated that he was happy to give an apology now.