To receive a report of the Executive Member for Climate Change and Transport Strategy.
The Executive Member for Climate Change and Transport Strategy introduced the report which provided an overview of the work done towards the Councils Carbon Neutral Action plan. The Executive Member for Climate Change and Transport Strategy brought the Committees attention to section 2 of the report which detailed the work that had been completed so far with section 3 putting those projects in the wider context of the actin plan and detailed projects that had fallen behind schedule. Section 4 detailed the difficulties the Council faced in achieving the action plan and why some of the actions were deemed to be at risk. The Executive Member for Climate Change and Transport Strategy concluded by stating that the report showed that many of the easy to achieve actions within the plan had been achieved and those remaining were those which required a larger effort to complete.
The Director of Growth and Regulatory Services added that the Council had come from a low base and had come to the stage where more effort was required to show returns. Section 4 of the report highlighted the difficulties that the area was facing in continuing to move forward. Director of Growth and Regulatory Services asked the Committee to note that there were many areas of the action plan that were reliant upon external bodies such as the delivery of Places for Everyone.
Following the introduction Councillor Axford stated that she was disappointed the public panel was no longer going ahead and she felt the Council needed to look into harnessing the energy of the public including Trafford youth cabinet. Councillor Axford noted that planning permission had been given to some large developments across the area which would have a high level of emission and asked how the Council could ensure future developments did not have large levels of emissions. Councillor Williams responded that the climate change commission was looking at communications and engagement with the public. There was a section of the website dedicated to climate change, but it was not listed on the front page of the website which would be addressed. The Director of Growth and Regulatory Services added that getting the right planning policy in place was vital in impacting future developments and assured the Committee that places for everyone was going through the final stages and would be in place relatively soon with the Council local plan following on shortly after.
Councillor Carter asked whether anything was being done to ensure future developments had charging points and high EPC levels. The Director of Growth and Regulatory Services stated that the local plan and updating of building regulations would assure that EPCs would be higher. The Principal Sustainability and Climate Change Officer added that the building regulations would require developments to be 30% better from 2022 and 80% better by 2025 the question was whether Trafford wanted developers to reach those targets sooner.
Councillor Carter asked about the enforcement of the EPCs which the report stated was limited in the short term and asked for more details as to why that was the case. The Director of Growth and Regulatory Services responded that had been taking longer than it should have done to complete many of the standard building checks and the team had also been busy with the homes for Ukraine work. This had led to delays, but an additional team member was to be added which would provide the service with the required resource to commence EPC enforcement again.
Councillor Carter asked what the plans were for e-scooters within the area. The Executive Member for Climate Change and Transport Strategy stated that he would take this up with Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) and that he was aware of the roll out of e-scooters within Salford, which seemed to have been successful. The Executive Member for Climate Change and Transport Strategy informed the Committee that the first part of the B-Network cycle docking stations had been agreed for installation and they would start to see them put into the North of the Borough.
Councillor Carter noted that there were quite large misses in where the Council was supposed to be and asked whether there was a vision which would provide the needed resources to achieve the targets set. The Executive Member for Climate Change and Transport Strategy agreed with the points made by Councillor Carter. While the Council had done studies into actions that could be taken and found changes that would deliver the required reduction. However, the cost of those actions was billions of pounds which the Council did not have. The Principal Sustainability and Climate Change Officer added that the action plan was based upon the science and not the resources the Council had to achieve its goals. The Council, other authorities across the country, and the government were working on filling in the gap between what they have and what was needed. The Principal Sustainability and Climate Change Officer spoke of the gap between the plans local authorities had set in place and the government’s plan for the country to be carbon neutral in 2050. Part of the work of local authorities involved working with partners across the region to look at ways to achieve as much as they could with the resources available to them.
Councillor Winstanley asked if the Committee could see the Excel Spreadsheet or gant chart which sat behind the dashboard and the Executive Member for Climate Change and Transport Strategy agreed to provide it.
Councillor Winstanley asked whether the Council was making the best use of the soft power the at its disposal within planning process to address these problems. The Executive Member for Climate Change and Transport Strategy felt that more could be done to champion the good work that was already being done and gave some examples of work being done across Greater Manchester and Trafford. The Executive Member for Climate Change and Transport Strategy also stated that he wanted to see more meaningful engagement of the private sector in the Trafford Climate Emergency and Air Quality Commission.
Councillor Coggins noted the report spoke about the inclusion of the carbon reduction targets on council reports but so far that section had just been used to list the positive climate impacts of work and not the carbon increases they would bring. The Executive Member for Climate Change and Transport Strategy agreed with Councillor Coggins point and stated that it was a new measure, which officers were still working out how to complete, and it would improve going forward. The Principal Sustainability and Climate Change Officer added that those impacts needed to be given similar weight as the financial and legal implications but there was a lack of the required expertise for assessments to be carried out.
Councillor Zhi asked about the measures that had been put in on public buildings, whether there were any financial benefits to the works that had been done, and whether there were any further plans to extend the programme further. The Executive Member for Climate Change and Transport Strategy spoke about this was part of a national decarbonisation scheme and offered to send more information to the Councillor after the meeting.
Councillor Axford asked for the communications strategy for the Action plan. The Principal Sustainability and Climate Change Officer agreed to send that through and the Greater Manchester Action Plan as well to provide a regional context.
Councillor Walsh asked whether there was any push back on producing highly efficient housing from developers. The Director of Growth and Regulatory Services responded that the largest changes would be seen as the new regulations came into force as it meant that developers were on a level playing field rather than developers who chose to have higher standards than others reducing their profitability compared to their competition. The Director of Growth and Regulatory Services agreed with Councillor Winstanley’s point that it was worth putting the questions out to developers to see how they respond.
Councillor Walsh asked for clarity around the tonnage for waste recycling. The Principal Sustainability and Climate Change Officer responded that they could change the way that it was reported to show total tonnage rather than percentages. The Executive Member for Environmental Services added that the recycling rate was on the rise across the borough and GM. Spoke about the recent Trafford campaign around grey bins being of the right size for properties to encourage recycling. The Committee were also informed that nothing in Trafford went to landfill.
Councillor Walsh asked how other emissions, such as methane, were figured into the action plan. The Principal Sustainability and Climate Change Officer responded that when looking at those emissions they were factored into the figures in carbon dioxide equivalents.
The Chair concluded the discussions by requesting that regular updates on the action plan be sent to Committee and that the Committee receive the documents for Trafford Climate Emergency and Air Quality Commission meetings.
1) That the report be noted.
2) That the Excel Spreadsheet with the data behind the indicators be shared with the Committee.
3) That information on the impact of the decarbonisation project be shared with Councillor Zhi after the meeting.
4) That the communications plan for the Action Plan and the Greater Manchester Action Plan be shared with the Committee.
5) That the Committee is to receive regular updates of the progress of the action plan and documents for Trafford Climate Emergency and Air Quality Commission meetings.