Venue: On TEAMS
Contact: Marion Phillips, Climate Response Support Officer
Welcome and Apologies
1.1. Apologies were noted from Cllr Filmer, Cllr Curry (substituted by Cllr Van Dyke) and Cllr Maple (substituted by Cllr Johnson).
Technically, Councillors are only required to declare interests at meetings of the Council, the Cabinet, or Committees and Sub Committees, Joint Committees or Joint Sub Committees. However, it is best practice to follow the rules on declaring interests at other informal meetings as well. Guidance on this is set out in agenda item 3.
2.1. The Chair requested declarations of interest and noted that he is the Director of the Medway Development Company (MDC) and Kyndi Ltd. Councillor Gulvin declared directorship of MDC and involvement in the refit programme and district heating system viability.
3.1. The Chair shared progress on the action plan over its first year and an infographic was displayed on key progress. The Chair emphasised how the action plan is a working document and the importance of input from all members of the community. It was noted that several actions are now fully embedded into core duties but will still be monitored.
3.2. Comments were invited from the group on the refreshed action plan.
3.3. The group welcomed the necessary ambition of the plan and highlighted how it will need to continue to evolve as more is learnt and technology improves. Specific comments made were as follows,
3.4. A member of the group confirmed that the Cathedral group was no longer running and to remove it from the action list.
ACTION – Climate Response Team to remove from MAG action list
3.5. The group welcomed actions addressing the tendering system and advised that they would like to hear more about this in due course.
ACTION – Category Management to present an update to the group in future – format to be agreed.
3.6. The group commented that the improvements in cycling were encouraging but that there is still much to do. In particular in terms of advice and support to get into cycling and further cycle storage.
ACTION – Sustainable Transport team to speak with public health around a cycling advice campaign and including secure cycle storage in future funding bids.
3.7. The group asked for clarification on how the significant reduction in landfill tallies with the relatively low recycling rates. The Head of Climate Response and Environmental Services commented that Medway’s landfill rates are exceptionally low. Recycling rates have stagnated at 42-46% depending on the level of green waste. The stagnation is a national problem and has also been impacted by the pandemic. The final outcome of the Environment Act could have significant changes on the way waste is handled across the UK and pressure has been put on DEFRA from the Southeast Leaders Group to tackle raising rates.
3.8. A member of the group noted disappointment at not seeing ‘No Mow May’ this year. The Chair advised that a more naturalised approach to support ecology was being taken throughout the year rather than for just one month.
3.9. The group welcomed a new action (4.4) on pensions and working with Kent County Council (KCC) on investments but asked for more detail on what these conversations might look like. The Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Place advised that KCC administer the pension scheme for all Local Authorities in Kent. We are working closely with them on our Climate Change ambitions and this action is to support directing pension funds into the green agenda.
3.10. In relation to the comments on cycling, the Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Place highlighted that making allocations for external funding is an important aspect of work being undertaken.
3.11. The group asked for the funding column in the action plan to include detail ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
4.1. The Chair invited the Climate Response and Environmental Protection Manager to update on priorities for year ahead.
4.2. Priorities include a budget needs and options appraisal for actions with the biggest savings, continued community engagement, business engagement, staff training to involve more on the climate agenda, continued joint working with Kent County wide targets and to identify Medway area initiatives and prepare for the second carbon budget.
4.3. There is currently an online survey to gain the communities’ thoughts on climate change and how informed they feel. Members were asked to encourage residents to complete the survey.
4.4. Members were asked to submit comments on the refreshed action plan by 7th June.
4.5. The refreshed action plan and annual carbon emissions report for 2020/21 will be submitted to Cabinet 5th July. Following Cabinet, an accessible version of the refresh will be published on the website alongside a simplified version.
4.6. The Head of Climate Response and Environmental Services gave thanks to all involved in the action plan and advised that this would be their last meeting as they are leaving Medway Council for a new position in Wiltshire.
4.7. The Chair congratulated the Head of Climate Response and Environmental Services on leading the team through the process to date and gave thanks for the progress made.
5.1. The minutes were accepted as a correct record.
5.2. It was agreed that matters arising from the last meeting would be included in comments being submitted by June 7th.
6.1. The Chair recommended the Gaia exhibition at Rochester Cathedral and highlighted the display of the winning poems from the school ‘Poet Tree’ competition on climate change and the quality of entries and engagement of the young generation on the subject.
6.2. The Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Place gave assurance that engagement is taking place across the council to ensure the climate change agenda is embedded, including with procurement and planning, engagement with the community will be built on with further conversations and that climate change is an important element of the Child Friendly Medway programme and enshrined in the approach.
6.3. The Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Place also highlighted two internships being progressed within the Climate Response Team, creating links with the University of Kent and Greenwich.
6.4. The Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Place gave thanks to Cllr Doe for chairing the Members Advisory Group, for the support given and the great strides that have been made and will continue.
6.5. The Chair encouraged all to continue to speak to colleagues and the community about the climate agenda.
Date of next meeting
The meeting closed.