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Greenest County Scrutiny Sub Committee

Meeting Date                     1 March 2011



Title of Report                  Waveney’s Sustainable Future – A Discussion Paper on Future
                                 Challenges, Opportunities and Direction

Report Reference                 REP624



Portfolio                        Greenest County

Portfolio Holder                 Cllr K Sale

Report Author and Tel No         Phil Gore
                                  (01394) 444286


Is the report Open or Exempt?    Open

Key Decision?                    No

DECISION TO BE MADE

To consider and recommend future priorities for the Council in delivering it’s Sustainability Policy
including work with the wider community to encourage and support businesses and local communities
to develop their own initiatives to reduce their environmental impacts and achieve a more sustainable
way of life.

THE COMMUNITY NEEDS AND ASPIRATIONS IN RESPECT OF THIS DECISION

Communities are central to the delivery of the Council’s Sustainability Policy and will be part of a
programme of engagement to help meet community based outcomes within the revised action plan.

HOW THIS DECISION FITS WITH THE COUNCIL’S LOCAL PRIORITIES AND THE
WAVENEY SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITY STRATEGY

Reviewing priorities within the Council’s Sustainability Policy will help to focus resources on the
key outcomes necessary to achieve the Council’s local priorities of:
   Valuing Waveney’s environment and protecting it for future generations and
   Improved use of resources and performance.
With the overall objective, as set out in Waveney’s Sustainable Community Strategy, of becoming
the Greenest County.




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STRATEGIC IMPLICATIONS

Sustainability - How this decision    A re-focussing of priorities within the Sustainability Policy will
builds a strong, healthy and just     provide an opportunity to build strong and resilient communities
society.

Equality & Diversity – How this       A revised Sustainability Action Plan will provide opportunities to
decision tackles inequality,          address inequality and deliver actions that will support more
disadvantage and discrimination, in   vulnerable members of the community, for example those in fuel
particular for people whose           poverty.
circumstances make them
vulnerable.

Managing Finances - How this          Opportunities for invest to save projects within the Sustainability
decision delivers value for money.    Action Plan would have a positive impact on the Councils
                                      managed budgets.

Governance – How this decision        The Sustainability Policy and Action Plan have been developed
ensures effective management of       to encourage more efficient and effective use of energy and
all risks, including Data Quality.    other resources to reduce the Council’s impact on the
                                      environment. This report provides an opportunity to review
                                      priorities within the Action Plan and draw on the expertise of the
                                      Council’s partners such as Norfolk Property Services, and
                                      realise the benefits arising from the shared services agenda with
                                      Suffolk Coastal District Council.

Legality - The legal powers and       Many of the actions contained within the Sustainability Action
implications of this decision.        Plan are statutory services that the Council is required to deliver,
                                      others are discretionary and fall within the Councils role as a.
                                      facilitator and community leader.
                                      Delivery of the Action Plan will be monitored through:
                                            The Greenest County Scrutiny Sub-committee;
                                            The Greenest County Officer Steering Group
                                            The Sustainability Champions Group

Managing resources – How this         Managing natural resources is at the heart of the Sustainability
decision ensures effective            Policy Action Plan.
management of the Council’s
people, natural resources and
physical assets to meet current and
future needs and deliver value for
money.

Partnership – How this decision       The Sustainability Action Plan is cross-cutting and requires close
will be delivered in partnership to   co-operation between service areas within the Council and from
further improve outcomes.             its strategic partners with responsibility for property
                                      management, waste and recycling and leisure services. The
                                      Council will also work with other external partners such as the
                                      Suffolk Climate Change Partnership and its communities to
                                      deliver the outcomes within the Sustainability Action Plan.




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MANAGING PERFORMANCE - HOW WILL THIS DECISION DELIVER THE OUTCOMES
AND IMPROVEMENTS THAT ARE NEEDED?
      This discussion paper and the facilitated workshop will provide an opportunity to review priorities
      and comment on the future direction of the Council’s Sustainability Policy with the aim of
      focussing resources on key areas for improvement.

1.       INTRODUCTION

1.1      At its meeting on 20 January 2011 the Greenest County Scrutiny Sub-Committee resolved
         that given the evolving changes in national and local circumstances the time was right to
         review the Sustainability Action Plan.

1.2      In order to commence this review it was agreed that the next meeting of the Scrutiny
         Committee (1 March 2011) should operate as a facilitated workshop in order to commence the
         review of the Waveney Sustainability Action Plan.

1.3      The intention is to use the meeting of the Scrutiny Sub-Committee to identify the key
         challenges/opportunities and potential options for developing an updated Sustainability Action
         Plan.

1.4      It is proposed that the facilitated workshop will be the start of the process with the formal
         policy direction being determined by the new Council following the May elections.

2.       THE WIDER CONTEXT

2.1      In order to address the sustainability agenda for the Council, it is first necessary to understand
         the wider corporate context in which the Council operates which can be summarised as
         follows:

         (i)      Economic challenges – general performance of economy including continued squeeze
                  on LA resources with 30% reduction over 4 years.

         (ii)     Big Society/Localism Bill – greater emphasis on community and less on state
                  intervention.

         (iii)    Health reforms – GP Consortia taking on commissioning role.

         (iv)     Health & Wellbeing Boards – role of District Councils in terms of Environmental
                  Services; Planning; Housing; Economic Development and Leisure etc.

         (v)      Placed Based Budgeting- agencies pooling resources.

         (vi)     Transparency – all exp £500+ now published – greater public scrutiny.

         (vii)    Public Sector Service Reviews

                     Core business – strategic/delivery/enabling/commissioning?
                     Service options – outsourcing/Community or Staff Enterprise etc
                     SCC – New Strategic Direction
                     District Councils – partnerships & mergers
                     Collaboration - between public sector organisations, eg estate management
                     Public Sector Boards?

         (viii)   Community Safety Review – Policing structure.

         (ix)     Local Enterprise Partnerships – Norfolk/Suffolk.

         (x)      Climate Change/Green issues agenda.

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      (xi)        Changing customer/public expectation

                     Quality of life
                     Quality of service
                     Cost of services
                     Cost of taxes
                     Growing number of campaign groups

      (xii)       Demographic changes etc.

3.    WHAT IS SUSTAINABILITY

3.1   Sustainability is a difficult concept to define but is generally accepted to mean the potential for
      long-term maintenance of human wellbeing, and has environmental, social and economic
      dimensions.

3.2   It is a very broad, cross-cutting agenda which a wide range of Council services contribute
      towards from planning policy, through the LDF, to waste and recycling services and from the
      management of parks and open spaces to the Councils use of natural resources.

3.3   The challenge for the Council, particularly in the current economic climate and reducing
      resources, will be to focus on a limited number of priority areas where gaps exist in the current
      approach or where performance needs to be improved. In other areas it may be business as
      usual and require only a watching brief from the Sub-Committee.

4.    WHY IS THE COUNCIL INVOLVED IN SUSTAINABILITY

4.1   As an Organisation

      Protecting the environment for future generations is a priority for the Council and with its
      partners in the LSP the Council is working towards a shared vision of becoming the greenest
      county by delivering an action plan that supports Waveney’s Sustainable Community
      Strategy.

      All of the Council’s services contribute in some way towards securing a sustainable future:

                 Planning Services – managing the built environment to meet sustainability objectives
                  within planning policy documents.
                 Economic Regeneration – promoting environmentally sensitive regeneration
                 Coast Protection and flood risk management – the protection of local communities
                  from flooding.
                 Communications – sign posting local communities and businesses to information and
                  funding to support action on sustainability
                 Management of parks and open spaces – to encourage access to open spaces and
                  bio-diversity on Council owned land
                 Environmental Health Services – regulating contaminated land, air quality and noise,
                  enforcing street scene legislation and protecting public health.
                 Waste and recycling services – reducing the amount of waste going to landfill through
                  the services provided by our partners Waveney Norse
                 Procurement – sourcing local goods and services and using the Council’s purchasing
                  power to secure the greening of the supply chain.
                 Asset management – control over the Council’s use of natural resources such as
                  water and energy with our partners NPS.
                 Transport – promoting sustainable transport solutions in the district.

4.2   As a Community Leader

      It is recognised by government that local authorities have a critical role to play in leading their
      local communities and encouraging them to act on issues such as climate change. Before
      taking on this role it is clearly important that the Council acts as an exemplar in the way that it
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      manages its own assets and delivers its services.

      The Council will share and promote examples of best practice amongst its partners and the
      wider community and encourage businesses and local communities to take action to mitigate
      and adapt to climate change.

      The Council will use its influence in areas such as procurement to encourage suppliers to
      adopt sustainable policies.

      The Council will signpost funding and services available to community groups and business to
      support them in taking action on climate change.


5.    WHAT IS THE CURRENT SUSTAINABILITY PROGRAMME WITHIN SUFFOLK

5.1   Suffolk Creating the Greenest County

      All of the Suffolk local authorities are committed to a single vision of creating the greenest
      county and the Council is represented on the Greenest County Executive Group which
      oversees programmes to deliver the vision. These include the Suffolk Climate Change Action
      Plan, reports on the State of Suffolk Environment Health, communication strategies and the
      coordination of campaigns to promote and achieve the vision of becoming the Greenest
      County.

5.2   Suffolk Climate Change Partnership

             The Suffolk Climate Change Partnership (SCCP) was formed in 2007 with
              representation from all of the Suffolk local authorities, Environment Agency,
              Groundwork East of England and other organisations with a common interest in
              mitigating and adapting to climate change.
             The SCCP are the delivery arm of the Greenest County Executive Group tasked with
              delivering a programme of work across the county to help mitigate and adapt to,
              climate change.
             All partners have signed a statement of intent and make a financial contribution to help
              fund a partnership manager and a business and community advisor and other support
              functions.
             Waveney have benefited from work delivered by the partnership in the district but this
              limited resource is spread across the county and has focussed on supporting active
              communities committed to implementing local plans to mitigate climate change.
             The partnership launched a Suffolk Climate Change Action Plan supported by all of
              the partners and this is due to be reviewed shortly to assess progress and refresh the
              document.

5.3   Individual Organisations Sustainability Action Plan

             The Council has an opportunity to influence those organisations that it works in
              partnership with such as those within the LSP, its strategic delivery partners such as
              the Leisure Trust and other organisations within the wider community.
             As part of the set of national indicators introduced to encourage local authorities to
              take action on climate change there is a requirement for Councils to engage with their
              LSPs to ensure that all of the partner organisations are planning for the impacts of
              climate change. To achieve this target Suffolk coastal piloted an approach towards
              the end of 2010 which is now being rolled out across the county.

5.4   Current Waveney Vision/Priorities

       Waveney wants to support Suffolk in becoming an exemplar in tackling climate change and
       protecting and enhancing its natural and historic environment.

      Priorities identified within the Waveney Sustainable Community Strategy are to:

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             Ensure the effective achievement of environmental targets
             Ensure that Waveney has a clear strategy to deal with climate change
             Deliver sustainable travel patterns
             Minimise the impact of traffic
             Deliver against the national priorities for regulatory services
             Tackle the issues surrounding waste collection
             Addressing water resources in Waveney which are severely restricted.

6.     CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR WDC

             With the abolition of the Audit Commission national indicators such as NI 185 – the
              Council’s CO2 emissions, 186 – district CO2 emissions, 188 – adaptation to climate
              change, designed to measure performance against a range of sustainability measures,
              have now gone requiring a review of what we measure and report on.
             The Suffolk Climate Change Action Plan is now 3 years old and will be reviewed and
              updated following a consultation with stakeholders. The Sub-Committee will be given
              an opportunity to feed into this consultation and may wish to recommend that the
              Council draft its own Climate Change Policy and Action Plan to support the countywide
              strategy.
             The Sustainability Action Plan captures a wider range of actions and targets and the
              Sub-Committee are encouraged to review the action plan and recommend priorities
              for future action.
             The Council will need to work with its partners and its local communities to deliver on a
              broad sustainability agenda. Many of those partnerships already exist.
             There are opportunities to reduce the Council’s reliance on fossil fuels and to take
              advantage of financial incentives for renewable energy eg feed-in tariffs and the
              Renewable Heat Incentive.
             The council needs to demonstrate its own sustainability credentials whilst engaging
              communities in its capacity as a facilitator and community leader.
             The partnership with Suffolk Coastal provides opportunities to share resources and
              expertise – in procurement within Waveney and climate change issues within Suffolk
              Coastal. Harmonising policies across both local authorities will assist with the shared
              services agenda.

7.     OPTIONS

7.1    The Sub-Committee may wish to consider the following areas within its list of future priorities
       for action:

             Procurement – the review of the Council’s Procurement Policy to strengthen
              sustainability criteria and help “green” the supply chain.
             Develop a Climate Change Strategy building on the Strategy and Action Plan adopted
              in Suffolk Coastal and inline with the countywide Strategy.
             Develop a Travel Plan for the Council to demonstrate its commitment to sustainable
              transport options and control its own carbon emissions arising from the Council’s own
              operations.

8.     NEXT STEPS

8.1    The Greenest County Scrutiny Sub-Committee will have an opportunity through the facilitated
       workshop to start the process of reviewing the Council’s priorities within the Sustainability
       Action Plan with the formal policy direction being determined by the new Council following
       the May elections.



OTHER OPTIONS CONSIDERED, REJECTED AND WHY

None

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REASONS FOR RECOMMENDATION

Having reviewed performance against the current Action Plan at its last meeting the Sub-Committee is
asked to consider future priorities.


RECOMMENDATION
That members of the Sub-committee consider future priorities for action to deliver sustainable
communities and contribute to the overall aim of becoming the Greenest County.



APPENDICES None




BACKGROUND PAPERS

Date              Type                                             Available From

                  Sustainability Policy and Action Plan




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