A written answer to this question will be published on a supplementary agenda.
(A) Question from Mr Jim Borcherds
“I was a member of the Stevenage Citizens Panel on Climate Change that met over 4 sessions from 26th to 29th October 2020.
We were informed that there would be some information forthcoming in January 2021.
It is now over two years since this Council declared a Climate Emergency, and it is over 8 months since the Citizens Panel met.
Please can the citizens of Stevenage have an update on the priorities that the Citizens Panel voted to be taken forwards and what progress has been made towards putting them into action?”
The Council received one question from a member of the public relating to the Council’s Climate Change agenda. The response to the question had been published in the supplementary agenda for the meeting.
The questioner (Mr Jim Borcherds) was present in the meeting, and made the following introduction prior to him asking a supplementary question:
“I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you along with other members of the Citizens’ Panel. My concern is that this all seems to be taking a long time.
One of the things that came out of the Citizens’ Panel discussions was how hard it is for people who live in flats to do recycling; they also have issues with bicycle parking - these are particular things that the Council should be helping people to resolve. The Council has started to install bike hangars (I believe there is one), but there has been little publicity about this.
The Council should be promoting all initiatives to support action on climate change, for example you can now recycle medicine blister packs in Superdrug, the Co-op has just started an any soft plastic recycling scheme nationwide and at the Oval in Stevenage, but the SBC recycling webpage has no information about this, and it advises that some recyclable items should be put in the refuse bin.
Crucially, the Council should be providing information about what can be done not just what the Council does. All decisions the Council makes should have Climate Change factored in, in particular this should apply to Planning decisions, but it should be one of the first paragraphs of any report.
Since I submitted my question, changes have been made to the climate change website. There is now a Citizens’ Panel summary report on the website which has no publication date. In the next steps section the summary states: ‘It is important that the Council now identifies what the next steps are for implementing the recommendations and that a formal response to the Panel is given.’
When will the full report be published and when will these actions be taken?”
The Portfolio Holder for Environment & Regeneration stated that he would request officers to provide a full written reply to the supplementary question. He was aware that some of the Citizens’ Panel recommendations had been referred to the Hertfordshire Sustainability and Climate Change Committee for consideration. The Council was awaiting details of the Government’s new Waste Strategy, which could impact significantly on recycling operations. Similarly, the Council was awaiting the Government’s Environment Bill, which it was expected would require all Local Authorities to take into account Biodiversity implications in all its planning decisions. He was pleased to report that SBC had been one of the first local authorities to have adopted a Biodiversity Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).