Venue: Churnet Room, Moorlands House, Leek
Apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Cllr. James Aberley and Mr. Nigel Williams (MCA). Mr. Mark Johnson attended as substitute for Mr. Nigel Williams.
The minutes of the meeting held on 1 October 2020 were APPROVED as a correct record.
(Proposed by Cllr. Flunder and seconded by Cllr. Davies.)
High Sheriff of Staffordshire - Mr. Charles Bagot Jewitt
The meeting was addressed by the High Sheriff of Staffordshire – Mr. Charles Bagott-Jewitt DL, who gave a presentation via ‘shared screen’ promoting the National Cycling Network.
There had been a huge increase in cycling in the last decade and in particular since the COVID-19 Pandemic, offering an alternative means of transportation for leisure, commuting and ‘staycations’. There were 15 established cycling trails in the OK, with 2 added in 2019 (King Alfred’s Way and The Great North Trail).
Staffordshire was seen as an excellent area for cycling, attracting large numbers from surrounding areas and beyond to the unparalleled scenery. Many Canal Towpaths were easy to adapt for cycling, often only needing to be widened by cutting back the vegetation. They were also easy to join up, meaning that not a lot of money was needed for the process.
Mr. Bagott-Jewitt had recently done a cycling tour of the county of Staffordshire, which Cllr. Flunder accompanied him on a section as SMDC Chairman.
Members discussed local cycling routes needing attention, including ‘Route 55’ at Biddulph and the disused railway line between Cheddleton and Leek.
Mr. Bagot-Jewitt was thanked for his attendance.
The Vice-Chair referred to an email received from Mike Jones (Moorlands Climate Action) regarding the methodology in bringing climate change matters to the attention of the SMDC Cabinet, stressing that the Climate Change Emergency was declared unanimously.
Chairs of the 5 Sub Groups which had already held meetings were invited to address the Working Group with their suggestions:-
NATURAL ENVIRONMENT – CLLR. PHIL TAYLOR
There was a clear need for a coherent tree-planting programme.
Information was needed to establish a ‘starting point’ in terms of carbon output in order to monitor progress over – hopefully – a 10 year programme.
Noted that other Councils in the region had adopted different target dates to achieve carbon neutrality, varying from 2030, 2040 up to 2050. Derbyshire Dales Council (demographically similar to ours) had a Climate Action Plan built into the Capital Programme and were due to appoint a Climate Change Officer.
Cllr. Joe Porter (Cabinet Member for Climate Change) felt that to appoint a specific Climate Change Officer would be a mistake, they would become isolated from the rest of staff and ignored. Better to train ALL staff in Climate Change matters and to get EVERYONE on board. Training had already been provided for many through Keele University.
Mark Forrester confirmed that the information issued in September 2019 would be re-circulated to all present to give a starting point. Government advice had been not to look at carbon capture as part of the carbon budget and with regard to the Council’s own data, there had been an update at the last meeting and there would be a further update by the end of the calendar year. A representative from Peak District National Park would be invited to attend a future Sub Group meeting.
TRAVEL AND TRANSPORT – CLLR. KEITH FLUNDER
As a County Councillor, Keith had looked at their 5 year plan, finding that highways was not a high priority.
The Sub Group felt that Green Corridors with links across the district and the Infrastructure Mapping Project that the officers were undertaking would be beneficial.
A second idea to emerge was for the continuance of virtual meetings at SMDC, possibly extending to other levels of local government. This was a good way of reducing Carbon emissions, reducing travel costs and was also safer.
Whilst well-received, members were concerned regarding a perceived lack of connectivity at county level, with unanswered queries recently. Keith agreed to try to ‘work on’ SCC regarding this issue.
HOUSING – CLLR. DARREN PRICE
Existing Housing – in numerical terms the highest priority. A ‘quick win’ appeared to be the Green Homes Grant Scheme, but was found to be frought with problems with administrative difficulties surrounding the obtaining of 3 separate quotes for work to be done. Cllr. Davies was able to speak from personal experience. Tradesman were required to hold the ‘Trustmark’, but very few did locally.
A Local Resource Database would help, giving applicants a list of accredited tradesmen prepared to get involved in the scheme. Local ... view the full minutes text for item 29.