Venue: COUNCIL CHAMBER. View directions
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor John Thomas.
Declarations of Interest (including whipping declarations)
Members are reminded of their personal responsibility to declare any personal and prejudicial interest in respect of matters contained in this agenda in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government and Finance Act 1992 relating to Council Tax, the Local Government Act 2000, the Council’s Constitution and the Members Code of Conduct
(a) Members are reminded that they must identify the item number and subject matter that their interest relates to and signify the nature of the personal interest and
(b) Where Members withdraw from a Meeting as a consequence of the disclosure of a prejudicial interest they must notify the Chair when they leave
No Declarations of Interest were made.
The Chair thanked Darren Chaffe for his hospitality during the visit to the offices in Abercynon earlier in the day and acknowledged that whilst answers to questions were provided during the visit, for the benefit of those who did not attend, similar questions may arise again.
Darren Chaffe referred Committee to the report and in particular made reference to:
· relocation of the Highways Department to Abercynon in May 2017
· efficiencies/reduction in Depot costs
· collaborative working
· winter maintenance
The following questions/observations were raised by Committee and responded to in detail by the Officers:-
· Do we have enough salt reserves to see us through the winter
· What is a hot box
· What have been the costs associated with moving to Abercynon
· Is there a cost to the sharing of vehicles with RCTCBC
· Do RCTCBC undertake work in MTCBC area
· How many Highways Inspectors should be on duty at any one time and how many do we actually have
· What are the problems with Mayrise System and when will they be resolved
· How does the standard priorities for street lighting work effectively
· What are the minimum standards for street lighting
· Would we be involved where diming of lights take place
· In comparison to roads in poor condition, how are we ranked with regard to roads in a good condition
· How many lights still need to be changed to the LED system and how long will take
· Is it cheaper to replace LED lights
· Would it be possible to employ a second street lighting engineer under a time contract until such a time as the lighting system has been completed
· Has a calculation been made with regard to performance and part time hours of officers
· Are the number of claims rising and what are the reasons
· Due to continuous budget cuts and available manpower, how do you envisage working to a good standard in the future
· What criteria needs to be met to be on the Gritting Programme
· Have street lighting engineering apprenticeships been considered
· With regard to potholes and refilling of grit bins, do we rely on residents to advise us or are they checked/inspected
· Who gets priority of vehicles in the event of a whiteout and are there enough vehicles and staff to cover both County Boroughs
· How many vehicles do we have to deal with gritting in Merthyr Tydfil
· What do you mean by ‘temporarily stored’ in relation to the storage of salt
· Why are we not delivering a more efficient highway service as promised
Ethan Scrivens left the meeting at 3.28 pm and returned at 3.31 pm.
· Clarification sought whether we should see a rise in performance indicators now that the Mayrise system is working
· How have staff numbers changed over the years
· How are reported potholes investigated/what is the criteria for them to be repaired
Darren Chaffe extended a further invite to visit the Abercynon Depot.
The content of the report be noted.
Mick Campbell referred Committee to the report and in particular to the following points:-
· Recruitment/funding of posts
· Energy Audits
· Ways of maximising savings/possible solar farm
· Employee culture of energy efficiency
· Personal office heaters
· Draft carbon management plan
· Setting targets/reduction targets
· Carbon reduction commitment
The following questions/observations were raised by Committee and were responded to in detail by the Officers:-
· Importance of Technical Energy Officer post/temporary nature of position /timeframe on appointment
· Invitation to British Gas to attend Committee to explain/sort out the energy bills
· Has the introduction of LED lights put us at a disadvantage regarding our carbon footprint
· What were the reasons for not reporting emissions under the CRC scheme
The content of the report be noted.
Scrutiny Referrals, Feedback and Follow up Actions
The Chair agreed to liaise with Howard Jones to invite a member of British Gas to attend Committee, failing that, for questions to be sent to British Gas for a response to Committee, with the potential for it to also be dealt with by Audit Committee.
A member made a referral for the operation of waste services, recycling and litter picking which is on the agenda for 9 April meeting.
The Chair advised that an update from the task and finish group regarding overspend at Brandy Bridge and Pontygwaith Bridge should be available for the next Committee.
Reflection and Evaluation of Meeting
To receive an update from the Chair.
The Chair and the Committee reflected on the items discussed at the meeting.
The Chair suggested future visits to service areas may be a good idea if questions on particular areas of work were being raised and that co-optee members also be invited to attend.
To consider the attached report
The Chair advised the item operation of waste services, recycling and litter picking will be discussed at the 9th April 2018 meeting.
Also Drugaid Cymru in conjuction with Social Services and Councillor Bill Smith to report back to Committee.
Any other business deemed urgent by the Chair
The Chair advised that there was no other business deemed urgent.