To consider a report by the Director for Digital and Resources, copy attached as item 9.
The Committee had a report before it attached as item 9, this had been circulated to all Members and a copy of which is attached to a signed copy of these minutes.
The report updated JOSC on the progress made and delivery of the important
Climate and Nature agenda.
A Member asked “Paragraph 7.3 talks of a feasibility study which modelled different food waste collection options considering cost, performance and ease of use. Will these have any consultation?”
Members were told there were different ways to collect food waste, particularly in relation to the frequency of collection with recycling and residual waste, collection vehicles and containers.
Which collection methodology the council would use would be informed by the study that had been completed and depend on funding arrangements from DEFRA, dialogue with West Sussex County Council as the waste disposal authority and the requirements of the Environment Act which were still awaited from central government. Taking this into account there was likely to be a single preferred option, which might need to be adapted for different housing types (eg flats vs suburban houses).
The council did not anticipate consulting on options, but subject to funding hoped to conduct a trial to get feedback from residents about how the service works, and what if anything could be done to enhance it further.
Officers were currently working up a scope for a trial which aimed to establish in 2023/24, subject to being able to secure the resources.
A Member asked “Paragraph 7.5 talks about the value of our circular economy, including community composting groups, etc etc. Is there a gap in knowledge that prevents more people in our community creating their own groups in their local community e.g. 'how to‘ start community composting or friends of groups' and what can be done?”
Members were told support was available from the councils’ commissioned Community Infrastructure provider, Community Works, to assist members of the community wishing to form community and friends groups. That there may have been some potential to undertake some targeted communications in relation to this area of focus.
A Member asked “Paragraph 6.2 Re-Naturing - there have been some complaints which demonstrates the need for further communications, engagement and signage to inform and educate as to the importance of renaturing.
On top of the engagement work planned throughout 2023 in section 9, what consideration has been given to doing education on re-naturing to those residents who have limited access and capacity to engage with the online updates?”
Members were told that at the outset, many of the renaturing locations had temporary signs placed outlining the principles and providing basic educational information to residents regarding renaturing. Providing permanent signage or interpretation boards was prohibitively expensive but some friends groups were commissioning these through CIL and external funding streams.
The councils web pages contained a renaturing map which detailed on a park by park basis the location of renaturing areas within the park and in the coming year it was hoped that they would provide more detailed information regarding which birds, insects and plants etc residents can expect to see at each location and would seek to place some detail and educational material in park notice boards.
Park Rangers spent considerable amounts of their time engaging with community groups, friends groups and other stakeholders attending task days and group meetings where they were on hand to provide education around renaturing, biodiversity and countryside management
A Member asked “Regarding the food waste trial - could you tell us about whether a review of Arun’s food waste trial was undertaken by our Councils, what that comprised of, and whether the results were fed into our strategy?”
Members were told there is a lot of information and case studies on food waste collection. The feasibility study that was commissioned through WRAP funding had drawn on this extensive national research. Officers were also reviewing trials that had been done more locally, working with colleagues at West Sussex County Council and in the Districts and Boroughs. This included Arun and Mid Sussex. They had requested that an operational group be set up with neighbouring authorities to share knowledge and experience, and this should happen in the next month.
Members also asked about the recommendations from the climate assembly that had not gone ahead and particular problems with them and trials in other authorities. Members were told a tracker exists to keep them up to date on where the various recommendations are in terms of progress and that issues like the Cost of Living had required a revaluation of priorities. Members were also told that trials in other authorities were being looked at and considered.