5.1 Kent and Medway Energy and Low Emissions Strategy – sign off has been held up slightly due to Covid. The final version is due to be signed off with a launch by KCC on 27th November at the Kent 2050: Road to Net Zero Conference. Action: Further details on net zero conference to be circulated by link
5.2 Further to an update on the current Re:fit programme, Councillor Thompson requested consideration be given to demand side response in council buildings to manage heating and lighting levels and therefore grid consumption while also earning an income. Action: Capital Projects team to inform ward councillors when Re:fit works are undertaken in their ward so that they are aware.
5.3 Cllr Tranter requested green energy supplied for the council. Officers confirmed that the council are working with Laser on this.
5.4 Agreed that where there are appropriate opportunities to tie the LED lighting programme in with EV charging points, this will be considered, as long as this does not impede the delivery of the LED programme.
5.5 Officers noted a successful bid for funding from HNDU for a techno-economic feasibility study for heat district networks in Medway. The study will be supported by the Housing Infrastructure Fund and included in the master plan. It is anticipated that officers will be able to share this work in 6 months’ time with potential heat sources identified. Action: Update on techno-economic study to be added to the agenda for the next meeting.
5.6 The group discussed how traffic has been reduced during Covid. Councillor Curry asked for additional monitoring to be put in place across the urban area from September to capture impact of schools going back. Environmental Protection noted that monitoring has shown that levels have continued to drop although they have seen elevations in particulates. No additional monitoring is required as sufficient resources are already in place and will share the results with the group. Action: Environmental Protection to share graphs of air quality levels and trends during the lockdown and provide an update on progress at the next board meeting for discussion.
5.7 Councillor Thompson asked if the imminent legislation of e-scooters will be included in transport plans. Transport officers advised that this is being evaluated and will need to be part of a long-term strategy. Action: Transport to bring an update on e-scooters to the next meeting.
5.8 Action: Councillor Doe asked for a multi-themed working group to be set up, re-establishing previous walking/cycling and tree groups.
5.9 Councillor Doe asked officers to monitor the Council vehicle fleet and report on the conversion to alternative fuel vehicles. Action: Officers to report on fleet conversion at each meeting.
5.10 Councillor Maple asked officers to progress the opportunity for a review of expenses rate for electric cars in parallel with the Employment Matters committee and also ensure that modal shift is reflected in updated HR policies and processes. Councillor Stamp noted that staff should be encouraged to walk and cycle to/for work where they are able to do so. Action: HR to progress updated policies and processes to support modal shift and changes to working practices as part of Back to Better recovery process.
5.11 Councillor Hackwell raised concerns that there is evidence where planning has been granted on the proviso that electric vehicle charging points are installed but this has not always been actioned. Councillor Hackwell queried with Planning officers how they ensure that there are not any deficiencies in approved planning applications and requested a process to monitor agreed planning conditions. Action: Planning to investigate examples provided of developers not meeting EV charge point obligations. Transport and Parking team to look into future process.
5.12 Councillor Gulvin asked officers to consider adding EV charging points in the Brook multi storey car park. Action: Capital Projects team to take this action away.
5.13 Cllr Stamp asked officers to consider promoting the EV charging point survey via other means including the Citizen Panel to enhance awareness. Action: Transport and Parking team to develop communications for EV charge point survey.
5.14 An overview of the wildflower verge initiative was provided. Councillor Maple asked for wildflower signs to be redesigned (reworded) and installed around the cemeteries (in particular Chatham Cemetery) Action: Medway Norse and Communications team to develop signs.
5.15 Councillor Doe noted that the proposed planting of 15,000 trees (if Medway’s Urban Tree Challenge Fund application is successful) as crucial to environmental plans and was in agreement that time should be spent between now and hearing about the bid to develop match funding plans. Action: Greenspaces team to share the details of sites identified in UTFC bid with the group and discuss use of Councillor Ward Improvement Funds towards tree purchase
5.16 Officers noted the intention for a tree sponsorship scheme to go live by November 2020 in time for planting season. Action: Add tree sponsorship scheme and the work around UTCF match funding to the agenda for a new cycling/tree group.
5.17 Councillor Maple asked for an update to be given at the next meeting on environmental actions and reactions on the river. Action: Update on environmental river work to be provided at next meeting.
5.18 Cllr Maple queried whether Medway Council has a pollinator action plan. Officers noted that KCC have also asked Medway to consider this and two country parks have been involved in a pollinator action project. An online workshop, organised by MUGS and hosted by the Bumblee Conservation Project, was attended by around 20 volunteers. The volunteers are now able to identify bees and collect data. Action: Councillor Curry to provide an update on the work of the group for sharing at the next meeting.
5.19 Cllr Maple asked for sufficient focus on encouraging and supporting businesses to work towards becoming single use plastic free and would like to see content put on the council website to this effect. Action: Include content on web page to support businesses becoming single use plastic free.
5.20 The Communications Account Manager showcased the work that has been undertaken since the last meeting, including branding and graphics. Communications will be developed around how Covid has helped climate change, to highlight where the impacts are apparent and where people have a choice to change their behaviour i.e. to shop locally. Informational graphics are being developed for example on the importance of trees, marshland and tie in with national tree planting day. Action: Communications team to share graphics and presentation with the group.