Climate and Ecological Emergencies Advisory Committee


HELD at 6.00 pm on Monday 17 October 2022

This was a virtual meeting.



In attendance:
Councillors: Sam Casey-Rerhaye (Chair), Sue Cooper, Stefan Gawrysiak,
Alexandrine Kantor (substitute member), Lynn Lloyd, Caroline Newton, Andrea Powell, Leigh Rawlins, Sue Roberts and David Rouane.
Officers: Chloe Bunting (Senior Climate Action Officer), Candida Basilio (Democratic
Services Officer), Dominic Lamb (Climate and Biodiversity Team Leader), Harry Barrington-Mountford (Head of Policy and Programmes) and Suzanne Malcolm (Deputy Chief Executive – Place)




14         Apologies for absence


Apologies were received from Councillors Wilson and Murphy. Councillor Gregory also sent apologies, and Councillor Kantor attended as her substitute.

Councillors Roberts and Rawlins also notified committee chair of potentially needing to leave the meeting earlier than planned due to other commitments.




15         Declaration of interests






16         Urgent business






17         Chair's announcements


Chair mentioned that she had written a letter from herself as chair of committee (and as Cycle Champion), with input from vice chair, Celia Wilson, to Great Western Railway for opening a conversation about carrying bikes on trains, apparently there was a bylaw not allowing electric bikes to board a train.








18         Minutes of the last meeting



The minutes of 4 July 2022 were agreed as a correct record, with one amendment to be made – on page 4 of the minutes, there was a typo. “CEAC” should read “CEEAC”. Democratic Services Officer to amend and republish as approved.




19         Public participation






20         Task and finish group update


No task and finish groups had taken place to report on.




21         Update from the Environment Advisory Group (EAG) - Future Oxfordshire Partnerships


Councillor Powell, a representative on the EAG, updated the committee.

Focus groups had been set up to inform the PAZCO route maps. Councillor Powell attended workshops on retrofit and stimulating financing for large scale retrofit campaigns.

The sessions were very interactive with attendance from a wide range of stakeholders.

The early September EAG was postponed, to allow City Science to pull together the findings from the workshops. Councillor Cooper attended the rearranged date on behalf of Councillor Powell.

The next meeting will be on 12 December 2022, when a full plan should be presented.

Councillor Cooper added that an update was provided, but City Science were waiting on the reports. Councillor Cooper mentioned the useful website by Oxfordshire County Council and South Oxfordshire’s advice on the website for saving energy at home.

Oxfordshire Food Strategy also came forward and will be going through the council’s democratic process very shortly.

Committee were invited to comment.

Discussion was had about new builds and what can be done to ensure sustainable development at the point of sale, differing carbon targets amongst councils and other organisations, and a mention of the target EPC Level C by 2026 for all rental homes. This was perceived as difficult to achieve due to a lack of workers for retrofitting and also the funding required.




22         Environment Act update






23         Update from the Climate Action Team


Update from Climate and Biodiversity Team Leader. We now had a full team, and we had been working out the team’s priorities for the next year to 18 months. Some funding had been secured to help deliver projects.

Current workstreams:

·         Review of our current retrofit information, to create a list of where we can go from here – carefully curated to ensure the actions were achievable.

·         Wallingford Bathing Water Project – work was being conducted with Thames 21. They gathered data over the summer from river users and on water quality. A draft report was being drawn up, and a technical report. A review was to be conducted ahead of submission of findings at the end of October 2022. How do we then encourage partners to improve water quality? That would be the next stage of work for Thames 21.

·         An application was submitted to the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme for around £376k for Cornerstone Arts Centre. The scheme was competitive and staff worked very hard to create a bid that fitted the changing rules and timings of the scheme.

·         Improved carbon performance data to be submitted in future, for future bids.

·         Website pages to support people to energy save at home and to signpost.

·         A free report from the Energy Saving Trust was received on decarbonising our transport fleet – officers will have a think about the options presented.

·         We were finalising a new e-learning training module for all council staff. This will give a clear and current understanding of the issues and how it applies to individual roles.

·         Review of our whole website – what more can we do to signpost? This would include working with and supporting the planning department in developing their own web content.

Committee commented on the following:

·         A suggestion of provision of a list of suppliers of goods and services, funders etc, for customers to review services, so we can list those who successfully carry out retrofitting etc – this was touched upon in the CEEAC retrofitting report – the Climate Action Team would be reviewing all of the recommendations within the report, which included a recommendation to provide some website advice on service providers, advisors, accessing funds etc. A member added that some customers were worried about scam companies.

·         Can members access the training for staff? Officer would review this, and it was envisaged to be available to members. Quarter 3 rollout for staff was planned.

·         It was asked if there was a bike to work scheme. Officer responded that this would be picked up upon in the CAP but that the Climate Team were not directly working on this.

·         It was suggested by a member that members and staff can benefit from cycling mileage claims. This could be publicised more.

·         It was asked to what standard was bathing water quality measured against? Officer responded that there was UV testing for E coli.




24         Climate Action Plan (CAP) Quarter 1 Report


Senior Climate Action Officer introduced the report. The report was approved at Cabinet.

There had been communications and involvement in campaigns such as

No Mow May.

Officer welcomed any comments on format. Any further detail on projects can be requested by committee for a future meeting.


·         SD7: discussion had about EV chargers, change of emphasis needed on why there were no chargers at council premises.

·         A discussion was had regarding electric waste vehicle fleet and the impact of costs on taxpayers. There was evidence that these were not good for rural locations, but could we look at a mix of vehicles to suit different areas? The Environment Act will dictate what we can do before we can draw up a new waste contract. Cabinet member for Environment added that officers were looking at vehicles now, and what can be replaced or improved upon. There was a wait list for purchasing electric vehicles. There could be consideration of hydrogenated oil powered vehicles.

·         L3: Renewable energy generators – were we considering hydroelectricity? A Culham site was mentioned as a local example. Officer responded that this was not straight forward, but committee could expect some further information at a future committee.

·         ESG WOW9 – chair asked about investing to save (in our assets) – Cabinet member for Finance responded that cost versus benefits had to be reviewed, financial justification was needed for the Gateway site.

·         Strategic Active Travel Network – chair will be on this group – lots of activity going on to support action.




25         Future items


·         Councillor Lloyd hoped to organise a presentation from Chilterns Conservation Board in the New Year.

·         What was happening with tree champions? Update? We can invite tree champions to committee for a verbal update.

·         OX10 Queen’s Green Canopy project (extended to March 2023). Oxfordshire Treescapes report maps out potential sites for planting. Councillor Powell suggested inviting someone from Oxfordshire Treescapes to committee.

·         Standard agenda item wanted for Cabinet member for environment to provide an update to committee.

·         UK 100 membership – help with carbon commitments and targets – can SODC gain membership? Cabinet member for Environment suggested gathering some information for the next meeting to help explain to members about what membership means and whether we should go forward with it.







The meeting closed at 19.20




Chair                                                                           Date