Agenda and minutes

Cleaner, Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 7th February, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 6SL. View directions

Contact: Jenny Shade, Senior Democratic Services Officer  Email:

No. Item


Minutes pdf icon PDF 112 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Cleaner, Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 6 December 2018.


The minutes of the Cleaner, Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 6 December 2018 were approved as a correct record.


Items of Urgent Business

To receive additional items that the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency, in accordance with Section 100B (4) (b) of the Local Government Act 1972.


There were no items of urgent business.


Declaration of Interests


There were no declarations of interest.


Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy Report pdf icon PDF 144 KB

Additional documents:


Michelle Cunningham, Thurrock Community Safety Partnership Manager, presented the report that provided an update on the areas of work associated with the Thurrock Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Strategy 2017-2020. Despite the title, the strategy recognised and responded to the fact that men could also be victims in crimes of domestic and sexual violence and abuse. Areas included in this strategy were:


·         Domestic violence and abuse;

·         Sexual violence;

·         Stalking;

·         Child sexual abuse;

·         So-called ‘honour based’ violence including forced marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM);

·         Gang related violence; and

·         Human trafficking.


Project MAYA was aimed at tackling FGM issues and the service worked with Barnados who was embedded in the multi-agency service hub (MASH).


VAWG remains widespread and has a devastating impact on victims and families. Thurrock Community Safety Partnership remains committed to tackle these violent crimes and work in tandem with local and Essex wide multi-agency groups on the VAWG Strategy. With the appointment of a VAWG Co-ordinator from October 2018, this demonstrates the service’s commitment to raising awareness of VAWG and delivery of the strategy.


Giving praise to the service’s proactivity, Councillor Fletcher asked if there was evidence to show if the strategy was working so far. Michelle Cunningham answered that domestic abuse reports were not currently available and the service was working with the police on this. Success of approaches had been measured around repeat victims but this information was no longer available. Work was also carried out with perpetrators but again data wasn’t always forthcoming.


Councillor Abbas arrived at 19.12.


The Chair questioned why the service no longer received the data on the work undertaken with perpetrators and the success of approaches with repeat victims. In answer, Michelle Cunningham said this was due to the lack of resources available to gather and send the data. This had been raised at the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Board meeting and would raise again. Information was available from the perpetrator project in children’s services. Councillor Fletcher commented that information was needed to measure the success of the work undertaken within the strategy.


Referring to the ‘Violence Against Women and Girls’ Strategy title, the Vice-Chair felt this was better titled as ‘Violence Against Persons’ as men and boys were recognised as victims of these crimes too. Bringing up police stations, the Vice-Chair went on to say there were too many numbers given which could be frustrating for victims trying to find help and support and to be told they had called the wrong organisation. There should be one phone number to call, similar to Childline which was easy to access. Continuing on, the Vice-Chair felt police officers needed training in dealing with crimes of domestic and sexual violence because many did not know how to handle these in a sensitive manner. The Vice-Chair would send a private email to Michelle Cunningham with a list of concerns and issues regarding VAWG.


Councillor Rigby queried if extra support was provided during peak periods. Confirming this was the case, Michelle Cunningham  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.


Update on Air Quality and Health pdf icon PDF 248 KB

Additional documents:


Mat Kiely, Strategic Lead Transportation Services, presented the report which gave an update on the actions, measures and initiatives undertaken by the service to tackle Air Quality issues to support and promote healthier lifestyles and to tackle health inequalities in Thurrock. The update also included information from the 2018 Air Quality Annual Status Report (ASR) which identified the actions and progress towards monitoring air quality in Thurrock.


Councillor Abbas queried if the cycle paths on the southern end of the Purfleet by-pass were part of improvement plans to help with air quality. Mat Kiely confirmed Purfleet by-pass was a part of the cycle improvement plan which the service was looking into.


Referring to London Road in Grays, Councillor Abbas commented on the increasing worry of air quality in the area and questioned if any steps would be undertaken to reduce the pollution. Confirming the area was being looked at; Mat Kiely said the plan was to reduce the impact of pollution on air quality. The area of London Road was challenging due to it being an industrial area and the aim was to encourage people to walk or cycle. The service would need to look at the Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) to check what steps would need to be taken regarding London Road.


Continuing on with London Road, the Vice-Chair asked if there were plans to plant trees in the area and who the service consulted with on where trees should be planted. She suggested using low hedges instead of trees which was better as low hedges would not cause view obstruction for drivers. In reply, Mat Kiely said the service worked with colleagues in the Environment Department’s Tree Officer on tree planting. Removed trees were replanted and the plans included the planting of trees. The service worked on a 1:3 ratio where the removal of one tree was replanted with three where practical.


The Vice-Chair suggested the service consult with Tree UK who would be able to provide best practise on tree planting. She went on to say that before the area became increasingly industrialised, there had been hedges and trees which had been wonderful and this was no longer the case. Agreeing that a cycle hub would be great to improve air quality, the Vice-Chair felt the planting of trees needed to be considered too. She went on to question how the A13 Widening would affect the air quality as there was no mention of the scheme within the report. There were houses within the area that was affected and trees had been pulled out for the scheme as well. Mat Kiely answered the A13 Widening Scheme was a report of its own and the service would need to speak with the Major Projects Team on plans.


The Committee discussed further on the planting of trees. Daren Spring, Assistant Director Street Scene and Leisure said the Tree Strategy had been brought to the Committee at the last Cleaner, Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.


Bartec Update pdf icon PDF 74 KB


Presented by Daren Spring, Assistant Director Street Scene and Leisure, the report outlined the progress of the Bartec Collective which was being implemented for Environment and Highways Services as a back office system. This would provide a digital scheduling and reporting tool and the ability to allocate work to frontline staff via a mobile app or in-cab unit which would be visible to all staff who had access.


The Chair praised the success of the Bartec Collective and was pleased to hear it was working well. She queried if the system also covered cemeteries. Daren Spring confirmed the system covered grounds maintenance work which included cemeteries.




That the Cleaner, Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered and noted the report.


Refuse Collections Update pdf icon PDF 95 KB


The report was presented by Daren Spring, Assistant Director Street Scene and Leisure, which gave an update on the performance of domestic waste collections, development of the commercial and business collection service and expansion of refuse collection services that were expected over the next year in line with the Borough’s growth.


With the introduction of the shunter drivers, Councillor Fletcher was pleased to hear these seemed to be working well. He questioned whether it was good value for money to recruit a Waste Services Engagement and Education Officer for communication services. The Council already had a good Communications Team and Councillor Fletcher queried if waste services communication could be undertaken there. Daren Spring explained the purpose of the new Officer would be to focus on recycling and waste only and it would need a person experienced and knowledgeable in this field to be successful.


The Chair asked if the additional budget mentioned had been factored into the overall budget for the service. Confirming this, Daren Spring explained the service had been working with the Finance Team to factor the additional budget in.


The Chair mentioned that Council Tax may have a 0% increase and she hoped not to see the increases made elsewhere within the Council. The Chair went on to ask the process on missed waste collections. She mentioned how small or narrow roads were sometimes missed when the big waste vehicles were unable to access the road and questioned if smaller vehicles could be sent out to collect instead. Daren Spring explained a Late crew was sent out and missed collections were the reason why rounds were rebalanced to reduce the pressure on the Friday collections. In cases of traffic, collections were sometimes missed and work would be rearranged to collect. Smaller vehicles were not sent out as they were too small to hold much waste.


The Chair was aware of a pilot project on waste collection in blocks of flats and she asked Officers for an update. Daren Spring answered the project was still quite new and would need more time to analyse the success.




That the Cleaner, Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered and noted the report.


Councillor Fletcher left at 8.41pm.



Recycling Service Update pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Additional documents:


Daren Spring, Assistant Director Street Scene and Leisure, gave an outline of the report which stated that the service was in the process of reviewing the new government document titled, “Waste, our resources: A Strategy for England”, to establish the possible implications for Thurrock. The report also contained performance on weekly residual and recycling collections for 2018/19 and the service’s focus for 2019/20.


With the Bartec Collective system in place, Councillor Abbas sought clarification on whether the ‘Oops’ bin tags would continue to be used. Daren Spring explained the tags worked in conjunction with the system. Bartec identified contamination within the bins and staff would tag the bins.


Councillor Rigby noted the figures of reduced rate in recycling and questioned the causes. Daren Spring explained there were many factors that contributed to the reduction on recycling. Some of these could be due to thinner glasses and plastics. Councillor Rigby went on to ask if bin tagging had helped with contaminated bins. In answer, Daren Spring said it was still too early to see results but the tagging had helped some residents understand why their bins were missed.


As Thurrock’s recycling rates were low, the Chair questioned the rates of neighbouring local authorities. Answering that there was a general trend in declining recycling rates, Daren Spring said it was dependent on which local authority’s process and policy was.


With some products, the Chair asked why these were not recyclable in Thurrock’s bins despite the packaging stating it was recyclable. Daren Spring replied that this was dependent on which company the Council used for waste. The waste company Thurrock used would accept glass but another may not.


The Chair mentioned previously requesting recycling bins in Thurrock’s cemeteries and open spaces, she asked for an update on the request. With cemeteries, Daren Spring said the service had been trying to establish the best type of bin and had been in conversations with three waste bin providers. Having an open bin would encourage people to throw anything in and the current bins in the cemeteries were not adequate. On open spaces, the service was rolling out a public bin programme.




That the Cleaner, Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee reviewed the report for information and comment.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 57 KB


As this meeting was the last Cleaner, Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee of the municipal year, the Chair asked the Committee if they wished to add anything to the work programme for the next municipal year.


The Committee requested for the following reports to be added:


·         An update on air quality with the AQMA table to be updated

·         An update on the tree strategy


Before closing the meeting, the Chair informed the Committee that the Prevent Violent Extremism Members Working group would become a formalised committee in the next municipal year. She encouraged Members to join and attend.


The Committee thanked the Officers for their support and hard work on reports to the Committee.