Venue: On Teams
Contact: Marion Phillips, Climate Response Support Officer
Welcome and Apologies
1.1. The Chair welcomed everyone, and apologies were noted from Cllr Gulvin and Cllr Curry (to be substituted by Cllr Van Dyke).
1.2. Officer apologies were noted from the Head of Capital Projects and the Head of Planning, substituted by the Planning Policy Manager.
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. None were received.
3.1. The Chair referenced the actions paper and asked the group for any matters arising.
3.2. The group referenced action 21 from the last meeting, the Refill project, regarding the weak reasoning in the update on the loss of revenue. The group hoped for a stronger policy across the council to set an example. The Chair agreed and noted that this subject would also be discussed under AOB.
3.3. The Chair referenced the following actions which should be marked as ongoing: action 11 with regard to Arriva buses under ‘Actions from the last meeting’, action 4 on tree planting and action 7 on planning under ‘Actions from Previous Meetings’.
ACTION: Climate Response Team to review actions 11 and 21 under actions from the last meeting and actions 4 and 7 under actions from previous meetings.
Active Travel Sub-group
4.1. The Chair invited the Head of Transport and Parking to present on the Active Travel Subgroup.
4.2. The Head of Transport and Parking referenced the report under item 4 with the recommendation for a new subgroup to look at active travel for the council. This group would support the development of the overall strategy in Medway, including capital schemes and promoting behavioural change; provide direction on emerging opportunities; be a critical friend to analysis initiatives and report back to this group on progress against the various actions in the plan. Comments were invited from the group.
4.3. The Chair supported the proposal noting that a lot of work is needed in this area and requested for three members to join the committee.
4.4. The Chair accepted nominations from Cllr Tranter, Cllr Edwards (proposed by Cllr Maple) and Cllr Hackwell.
4.5. The group noted that they would like public transport, not currently included in the terms of reference, to form an element of discussions by the subgroup as it is interrelated to walking and cycling. It was noted that getting people out of cars is the starting point.
4.6. The Chair acknowledged that people need to be encouraged to enjoy exercise rather than a banning cars approach. The group agreed that ultimately people will cycle and walk because they would prefer to do this.
4.7. The Chair noted the importance of continuing to look at funding from the government including for secure cycle storage at various destinations and this was highlighted as a particular need for the subgroup to consider.
4.8. The Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Place noted this first action for the group and also highlighted the new cycle hub at Chatham Train Station.
ACTION: The Head of Transport and Parking to notify democratic services to finalise the subgroup membership.
ACTION: Active Travel subgroup to consider cycle storage (locations and funding options) and include the relationship to public transport in the terms of reference.
4.9. The Chair suggested that the subgroup should identify the outcomes they want to achieve. The Head of Transport and Parking agreed and noted a key consideration of the group will be the emerging walking and cycling infrastructure plan which is key for the next 5-10 years.
4.10. The Chair noted the importance of pushing harder for walking to school groups with the aspiration that all schools should have these.
ACTION: Sustainable Transport Officers to seek increased participation of schools in the provision of walking to school groups.
4.11. The Chair noted that the Head of Category Management was unable to present at the meeting as planned and the presentation will be brought forward to the next meeting.
ACTION: Head of Category Management to present at a futuremeeting
5.1. The Chair highlighted the successful work being undertaken by the Climate Response team and others across the council to bring in funding for climate change initiatives.
5.2. The Climate Response Officer echoed the Chairs comments that Teams across the council have been horizon scanning and identifying opportunities. A Climate Emergency Funding subgroup has met several times and is working to consolidate efforts on funding opportunities. The Council is also working closely with Kent County Council (KCC) on bids such as on the current Behavioural Insights Project.
5.3. The Chair noted that Kent wide bids were always envisaged and suggested raising the attention of this in discussions with KCC.
ACTION: Climate Response Team to discuss and seek Kent wide bids with KCC
5.4. The group noted that KCC have secured funding for zero emission buses along with some other local authorities and enquired as to if there might be further opportunities for zero emission bus bids in Medway following the unsuccessful bid in 2019. The group also asked if Medway could link into the successful KCC scheme.
ACTION: Head of Transport and Parking to enquire about potential links with KCC on their zero-emission bus scheme.
5.5. The group asked if there was an update on the Levelling Up Fund bid which could provide active travel funding. The Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Place agreed that the round 2 bid (Gillingham Open Lines) will be helpful for active travel. It was noted that the timescales for a number of Government funding steams have been delayed but that Medway is seeking every opportunity for further clarity including at a ministerial level.
5.6. The Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Place also noted with regard to the zero-emission bus funding, that KCC were successful in the same round that Medway was not and that Medway would seek to progress bids at every opportunity.
ACTION: Head of Transport and Parking to continue to seek funding for zero emission buses.
5.7. The Chair noted seeing a number of new buses in Medway that did not appear to be electric and that the aspiration would be that any new bus should be zero emission.
5.8. The group highlighted their disappointment that Medway’s biggest bus provider appears to have sent their most modern buses to Essex where the council has more specific air quality requirements. The impact of this for Medway’s main bus users (young and old) was noted.
ACTION: Head of Transport and Parking to follow up with bus company on the deployment of modern buses in locations outside of Medway.
5.9. The group supported working with other districts/counties etc on bids where appropriate noting that the climate emergency does not recognise political boundaries.
5.10. The group noted that they have not seen Section 106 commitments on climate emergency improvements and asked that a specific fund is included in any draft Section 106 guide going forward which could be used to fund smaller projects. The Chair agreed in principle on developers’ contributions but ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
6.1. The Chair referenced the paper on business case studies and the Climate Response Engagement Officer advised that case studies are shared as behavioural science has shown that people are more likely to take action if they see their peers are doing so and also as an opportunity to celebrate what is happening in Medway.
6.2. The Climate Response Engagement Officer introduced Stephen Russell, the founder of the Copper Rivet Distillery and Commercial Director of Russell Distillers Ltd to present on how their business is responding to climate change and the barriers faced.
6.3. Stephen noted the value of hearing what other businesses are doing in relation to climate change and grants accessed and how the recent working business lunch also provided useful links.
6.4. An overview was provided on the Copper Rivet, a fully family funded and run distillery, and their sustainability goals in relation to carbon, water and community.
6.5. It was noted that a distillery is an energy intensive business with four big negative impacts: Transport of goods and liquid; the use of energy to heat liquid in distilling process; the use of water in cooling condensation process and waste.
6.6. Actions taken to date include bringing a derelict building back to life, providing a variety of local jobs, using locally farmed grain and storing barrels only a mile from the distillery, hand bottling at the distillery, optimising work flow to reduce energy consumption needed for the heating and cooling process, utilising the waste product of spent grain by sending it directly back to the farm to feed cattle (which was found to have lower carbon impact than using grain to create biomethane) and converting all lighting to LED.
6.7. A key action the Copper Rivet would like to undertake is to use water from Basin No.1 for cooling which would reduce energy and water consumption. Initial feedback has shown support for the scheme and the engineering and costs involved are being looked at.
6.8. The business is also keen to use heat generated to create a mini heat network for their restaurant and other local businesses; to use by-products for either anaerobic digestion for biomethane or as nutrition for marine life in the Medway (as done in Scotland), to generate energy by capturing solar and wind power; to secure barrel storage and bottling facilities within Medway; and to switch from natural gas to green hydrogen. The main barriers to progressing these actions are technology maturity, energy availability and funding.
6.9. The Chair highlighted potential links with the River Medway heat source system and it was noted that the Copper Rivet is in close contact with the team looking at this.
6.10. The Chair thanked Stephen for providing an insight into how a business approaches the climate change issue and invited questions.
6.11. Cllr Maple gave a declaration of interest as a Trustee of the Chatham Maritime Trust.
6.12. The group noted how hearing the experiences of this case study will be positive for other small business ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Comms and Engagement
7.1. The Chair introduced the Head of Communications and Marketing and the Climate Response Engagement Officer to present.
7.2. The Head of Communications and Marketing advised how further links would be made with the Copper Rivet as a case study in the Council’s communications. The communications and engagement presentation was shared and it was noted how the last few months had been very busy.
7.3. The Climate Response Engagement Officer updated on the Climate Change Action plan survey results, summer events attended, a new carbon footprint game for events and Great Big Green Week including the Energy Café and the Disability Network Climate Workshop.
7.4. The Chair acknowledged the amount of work undertaken on engagement and the success of the numbers engaged. The Head of Communications and Marketing noted that the new game and use of VR headsets such as at the gaming festival has brought discussions alive.
7.5. The Head of Communications and Marketing updated on online engagement through a variety of council channels (Corporate, Environmental and Climate Change pages) and that a new role has been created specifically to support online work for frontline services.
7.6. It is currently COP27 and daily social media posts are being shared on each day’s theme and related action taking place in Medway.
7.7. Engagement also continues via the Climate Change Newsletters and two weekly e-Medway matters and via the Small Changes campaign. There are upcoming articles on a climate friendly Christmas and the Medway Food Innovation Centre in Medway Matters.
7.8. The Climate Response Engagement Officer updated on the school climate network with the new logo shared, the Medway Environmental Action Network and the Kent Association of Local Councils. It was noted that engagement with parish councils has been more difficult. The Chair advised contacting Cllr Buckwell.
7.9. The group suggested ‘Chatty Cafes’ as a place to engage with the community. The cafes are also being set up as ‘Warm Places’ during the winter. This could just be the provision of materials and information at the venues.
ACTION: The Head of Communications and Marketing and Housing Strategy and Partnerships Manager to provide material to be shared at Chatty Café and Warm Place locations across Medway.
7.10. The Chair gave thanks, highlighting the enormous value of the engagement work undertaken by the Climate Response Engagement Officer and others.
8.1. The Chair referenced the update paper and invited questions.
8.2. No questions were received.
9.1. The Chair referenced the report on the Behavioural insights programme. The Housing Strategy and Partnerships Manager confirmed the programme has now launched on social media and how the focus is on changes that can be made on an individual level and in encouraging discussions with friends and family. The Head of Communications and Marketing highlighted the social media campaign to encourage people to get involved.
9.2. The Chair advised that Single Use Products at Council meetings needs to be addressed and asked that this is followed up. The Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Place confirmed the Council is committed to this, conversations have been had and asked the Climate Response Officer to pick up conversation again.
ACTION: Climate Response Team to follow up with Facilities team.
Date of next meeting
Thursday 2nd February 2023