Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 21 January 2020 6.30 pm

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

Contact: Steven Corrigan, Democratic Services Manager 

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 121 KB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the committee minutes of the meeting held on 26 November 2019. 


RESOLVED: toapprove the minutes of the meeting held on 26 November 2019 as a correct record and agree that the Chairman sign them as such.


Declarations of interest

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





Urgent business and chairman's announcements

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, and to receive any announcements from the chairman. 




Public participation

To receive any questions or statements from members of the public that have registered to speak. 


The Chairman advised that Gill Bindoff, Chair of the Watlington’s Neighbourhood Plan Advisory Board, had registered to address the committee on the air quality item on behalf of Watlington Parish Council.



Air quality pdf icon PDF 863 KB

To consider the head of housing and environment’s report. 

Additional documents:


A correction to the table, set out in paragraph 18 of the report, was circulated at the meeting and is attached to these minutes.


Gill Bindoff addressed the committee. She referred to a letter from Watlington Parish Council, circulated to all committee members, which drew attention to aspects of air quality which the parish council considered were not covered in the report before committee and raised concerns about how the district council managed air quality.  Her viewpoints were as follows:

·         The update provides an optimistic picture of air quality in South Oxfordshire not justified by the facts.

·         Evidence suggests there remains a problem with air quality in the designated Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) and that the health of those communities is still under threat.

·         There is no pattern of falling levels of pollution in the AQMAs to indicate that nitrogen dioxide levels are reducing over time or that the AQMAs could be revoked.

·         The reliability of the 2018 data, which show a dramatic decline in pollution levels since 2017, with no explanation for this.

·         Insufficient care is being taken in respect of the Watlington AQMA – the district council should be taking a precautionary approach to the identified risk to ensure decisions are not taken which could increase harm to residents.

·         There is a mismatch between the responsibility to reduce air pollution and the demands of housing growth.

·         Greater collaboration required between the district council and Oxfordshire County Council.

·         A standalone committee/working party should take on responsibility for air quality.

·         Would welcome an opportunity for the parish council to meet with officers to address air quality issues. 


Councillor David Rouane, Cabinet member for housing and environment, addressed the committee. He stated that the committee had requested an update report on air quality in South Oxfordshire and in particular the progress made at delivering the actions identified in the Air Quality Action Plan adopted in 2014.

He reported that as a largely rural district, with several market towns and villages, the air quality throughout the district is generally very good.  However, there are air pollution hotspots where NO2 associated with traffic emissions is higher and where it has been necessary to declare Air Quality Management Areas. 

Under the Environment Act the council is required to periodically review and assess air quality within the district area under the system of Local Air Quality Management (LAQM). This review and assessment of air quality involves considering present and future air quality levels against the national Air Quality Objectives defined by the department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

If it is predicted that levels at sensitive locations, where members of the public are regularly present for the relevant averaging period, are likely to be exceeded, the Local Authority is required to declare an Air Quality Management Area. Three such areas exist in South Oxfordshire, in Henley on Thames, Wallingford and Watlington, all declared because NO2 levels were either predicted to or were exceeding national objectives. There were no plans to declassify  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.


Climate work programme pdf icon PDF 287 KB

To receive a presentation from Michelle Wells on the climate work programme. 


Councillor Sue Roberts, Chair of the Climate Emergency Advisory Committee, provided an update on the work of the committee. A copy of the presentation is attached to these minutes. The committee noted that the purpose of the presentation was to receive an update on progress and not to scrutinise the individual proposals. The committee would have the opportunity to monitor performance at future meetings.


In response to councillor questions, the committee was advised that an additional officer resource has been requested to support the work of the committee within the proposals from the committee that would be costed for consideration by Cabinet.


Work schedule and dates for all South and Vale scrutiny meetings pdf icon PDF 140 KB

To review the attached scrutiny work schedule. Please note, although the dates are confirmed, the items under consideration are subject to being withdrawn, added to or rearranged without further notice.



The committee noted that the only item of business for consideration at the meeting on 4 February 2020 will be the ‘Budget 2020/21’ item. The remaining items included on the work programme for that meeting will be considered at the meeting on 23 March 2020. The committee further noted that the ‘Draft Corporate Plan 2020-2024 and Delivery Framework’ item will be included on the June meeting agenda.