Agenda and minutes

Climate and Ecological Emergencies Advisory Committee - Tuesday, 28 January 2020 4.30 pm

Venue: Meeting Room 1, 135 Eastern Avenue, Milton Park, Milton, OX14 4SB

Contact: Candida Mckelvey, Democratic Services Officer 

No. Item


Chairman's announcements

To receive any announcements from the chairman and general housekeeping matters.


Six months hard work by a skeleton staff, with considerable input from South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) councillors, has produced the report that we are discussing today, a one-year work programme to begin in the next financial year. Michelle Wells, Insight and Policy Manager, and her team, have brought project options to the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee which we have gone through and pared down.


Two-thirds of the available £15,000 climate budget for the current year was deployed to expert contractors for scoping and costing project options. Caroline Newton, Jo Robb and I, acting as a Task and Finish group, went through these and selected the highest impact ones to take forward.


Officers already work collaboratively with external partners, including on Oxfordshire-wide projects on electric vehicles, and through the County Collaboration on Climate Change Group. This group works at senior officer level across the six councils, and also at elected member level. I have attended two meetings on behalf of SODC and am very excited by the wealth of knowledge and experience we can draw upon working at this scale, especially from Oxford City.


Other ongoing projects include the design and procurement of new Council offices. Council, on advice from our Committee, requires this to be genuinely net zero-carbon in its build and net zero-carbon in its operation (without off-site offsetting). We are seeking to procure renewable electricity for our next enegy contract, and are planning to adapt our Planning Design Guide to signal for low-carbon new homes. Initiatives in the Didcot Garden Town project are around low carbon transport and homes, and importantly, on growing local food.


We have commissioned, baseline reviews of energy use and carbon emissions both for our own operations and district-wide; definition of paths to change; training for officers; workshops with town councils; and planning for an all-day conference for officers and members of SODC and Vale of White Horse, in the Spring. Celia Wilson, Alison Jenner from Vale, and I, met, as a Task and Finish group, with the consultants to scope the conference. It will be both visionary and fun!


The selected work-package for next year, over and above what is already in train, has been carefully costed. It is to plan to retrofit our council-owned buildings for energy efficiency and renewables, whilst helping home-owners and landlords to do the same; to undertake feasibility studies in order to make wise investments in renewables, to reduce single-use plastic and promote plant-based diets; to move to low-carbon travel; to encourage behaviour change and low-carbon action in the wider community and in business, including through providing baselines and strategies for change; and to develop schemes for the recovery of nature.


It is a top priority for SODC to mitigate climate change, restore our natural world and adapt to the inevitable consequences of already-built-in climate breakdown and ecosystem collapse. Our papers include an article by Professor Jem Bendell highlighting these inevitable consequences and the fact that we shall need to invest to an extraordinary extent to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.


Apologies for absence

To record apologies for absence and the attendance of substitute members.


Councillors Ian White and Simon Hewerdine sent apologies for absence.



Minutes of previous meeting pdf icon PDF 126 KB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee minutes of the meeting held on 20 November 2019.



To adopt the minutes of the committee meeting held on 20 November 2019 as a correct record and agree that the Chair signs them as such, subject to correcting a typographical error for minute number 18, under the paragraph “Future meetings of the advisory committee”.



Declarations of interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting.


Councillor Rouane declared that he is a Director of the climate action charity, Possible.



Urgent business

To receive notification of any matters which the chairman determines should be considered as urgent business and the special circumstances which have made the matters urgent.


No urgent business



'Deep Adaptation' article pdf icon PDF 170 KB

To note the ‘Deep Adaptation’ article, which explores, mainly at a community level, what societies can do differently on climate change and its implications of possible social collapse. It expands the mainstream environmental movement’s focus on mitigation (e.g. lowering CO2 emissions) to one of considering how countries can adapt to a coming climate tragedy.


Committee Chair urged members to read the “Deep Adaptation” article, but it was not going to be discussed as part of the agenda.






Public participation


Four members of the public were present with three minutes each to present to the committee.

The first speaker was Giles Cattermole, Councillor for Wallingford, but speaking as a private individual. Mr Cattermole discussed what he considered to be the two main sources of CO2 emissions in the area – Gas and electricity for household heating, and transport emissions. Ideas included for the heating issue are: improving thermal efficiency of housing – new build and old, with nothing below code six. Revocation of the EU “REACH” Directive against copper wood arsenic treatment of windows and doors, and LED lighting. For transport emissions, Mr. Cattermole suggested reducing the need for residents to commute out of area for work, and promotion of electric vehicles with subsidised parking, charging zones and various incentives for switching to electric.


The second speaker was Patrick Fleming. Patrick thanked the three officers who attended a meeting with Henley Town Council. He discussed wilding trees and a move back to holistic agriculture, reducing nitrates and increasing grazing. The Chair asked for a future committee agenda item on collaboration with local farmers, which was regarded as key to climate awareness success.



Include an item to a future committee agenda on collaboration with local farmers.


The third speaker was Guy Wilkin of harBUG – a local cycling group. He discussed cycling outcomes in the new housing developments, stating that the connections with towns were poor. He suggested challenging County Council to support cycling in planning. The committee noted that Full Council already passed a motion that it would work closely with County whilst planning the Didcot network. Further discussion confirmed that landowners were helped to create cycle paths. The idea of replicating cycle to train commutes with cycle to bus was mentioned.


A fourth speaker was given permission to speak. John Broad is involved in the local motorcyclist action group. Mr. Broad was talking in support of motorcycles as a smaller alternative to cars, which create less congestion and take up less parking space. He mentioned an example of Northamptonshire, who include motorcycles in their strategy to fight pollution and congestion. He raised the point that motorcycles were much better for people who cannot pedal cycle for health reasons or have to travel long distances.



Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Steering Group

Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) are proposing to develop an Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle (EV) Infrastructure Strategy to establish the principles and an action plan to deliver the charging infrastructure needed to support the transition to low emission vehicles in the county. To assist with the development of the strategy, OCC has invited the council to appoint a councillor to the Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Steering Group.


As this is a joint committee, the appointment is one for full Council. However, officers propose that the representative should be a member of the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee.


The committee is therefore invited to make a recommendation to Council on the appointment which will be considered at its meeting on 13 February 2020.




To recommend to Council on the appointment of a representative to the Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Steering Group.


The Committee was asked to nominate a representative for the Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Steering Group.



To nominate Councillor Caroline Newton to represent the Council at the Oxfordshire Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Steering Group.



Climate Emergency -Year One Work Programme pdf icon PDF 207 KB

To consider the Task and Finish Group’s report on their work programme. Insight and Policy Manager to report.

Additional documents:


The Committee Chair gave an address, which is attached in the appendix to these minutes.


The committee read through the report of the Head of partnership and insight. Officers were present to answer questions. The committee reviewed the year one work programme.


Cllrs Newton, Robb and Roberts are part of the task and finish group who reviewed all the initiatives and prioritised them for the programme. The focus was on the projects that were deemed to have the biggest impact. These were split into themes and priority levels. Priorities included electric pool cars for business use, the new Crowmarsh office build and operation, and low carbon new homes and retrofitting.

The report included a budget request for a dedicated climate change officer lead, on a twelve month fixed-term basis. The committee commended the task and finish group.


Theme: Council business

On the subject of electric vehicles, the committee discussed charging facilities at Milton Park. The group were informed that the proposal is to have some dedicated staff charge points, but public charge points would be in liaison with MEPC rather than a cost to the council. The committee considered that a report was required on distribution of electric car charge points per area.


Councillors discussed with officers the merits of having a carbon emissions model, following on from the baseline review. Officers explained that having a model helps inform the committee’s decision making for future plans. The model would be a one-off investment to help the committee make choices, so would not constitute being over-consultation, and would tie into ongoing consultancy fees. The model would help enable committee actions. It was agreed that preparation was needed. The budget for this item was supported.


Theme: Housing

The committee discussed Cosy Homes. Councillors would like to see more information available to the public. Under the behavioural change theme – there was a proposal of £1,000 to inform and communicate with the public, and officers were asked to include retrofit as a feature. The Super Homes programme was cited as something to replicate. An item for the task and finish group is to work on a new build and retrofit housing criteria. The committee supported in principle the production of a booklet for residents suggesting changes that could be made to different styles of housing.


A planning design guide by the Planning Policy team is being created to act as a guide for new homes. Officers explained that this would include a section on climate emergency. The project initiation document is working its way through governance and would be brought to the committee. This would be a future item for the committee to consider.





Theme: Behaviour change

The committee debated the classification of projects in the grants programme, as environmental impact now received a heavier weighting. For example, children’s playgrounds and village halls could be disadvantaged. These could score more poorly for environmental issues, despite being very much needed for social cohesion and health. It could be argued that there is environmental benefit  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.


Communications and Engagement update

Project Officer – Policy & Insight, to provide the committee with a verbal update.


Officers will circulate a written update to the Chair.



Forward Programme for the Committee pdf icon PDF 40 KB

The Committee are asked to consider  and review the Forward Programme, which is accompanied by a table containing future meeting dates. Democratic Services Officer to report.


Actions were given to the committee secretary – to circulate the minutes draft as soon as possible, and to find a date for a March/April committee meeting.



Exclusion of the public

To consider whether to exclude members of the press and public from the meeting for the following item of business under Part 1 of Schedule 12A Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 and as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006 on the grounds that:

(i)        it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1-7 Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, and

(ii)       the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. 



RESOLVED: to exclude members of the press and public from the meeting for the following item of business under Part 1 of Schedule 12A Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 and as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006 on the grounds that:

(i)        it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 1-7 Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act, and

(ii)       the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information. 



Car Parking Fees and Charges

To consider the report by Head of Housing and Environment, which seeks the committee’s views on the Council’s car parking fees and charges.


The committee reviewed a car parking charges proposal and gave comments for Cabinet.