This item had continued from the 29 November 2021 meeting and Ben Smith, Arup Representative, was in attendance to answer any further questions and sought the support and endorsement from the task force group to undertake a consultation to progress the strategy to its final place. This would form part of an internal consultation within Thurrock with different directorates on topics such as energy, transport and buildings and to also undertake an external consultation.
Councillor Redsell referred to the presentation, shortlisted actions, transport and questioned what was meant by “modal shift” and “freight modal shift” to which Ben Smith stated modal shift was moving people from one mode of transport to another. In this case moving people away from the private car into other forms of transport such as public transport, walking, cycling etc. He explained further that freight modal shift was one of the areas they wanted to explore further with officers as part of the consultation on what was possible.
Councillor Redsell referred to electric vehicles in that more charging points were required before this could work successfully in Thurrock and commented on how dangerous electric bikes and scooters were. Ben Smith stated it was important to get electric vehicle charging stations right and close to where people needed them, and this was important not just in Thurrock but everywhere. Again, these were the items that would form part of the consultation and would identify what conversations officers have had already with UK Power Networks about the deployment of charging stations. He agreed that Councillor Redsell comments were valid on how dangerous electric scooters were and although they had to go on the road and abide by the road laws there was currently no regulations in place which was problematic. He commented that electric scooters maybe something that Thurrock did not promote but promoted the use of e-bikes instead. Again, these were the type of areas that form part of the internal and external consultations.
Councillor Redsell stated it was important that 106 monies were taken in to account as part of this consultation and Councillor Thandi agreed that technology was changing very fast, and the council were moving in the right direction of travel to ensure electric charging was safe and worked well for residents.
Councillor Collins referred to the current events in Ukraine and Russia and raised his concern on how the country still needed oil and gas to survive and stated there was not enough green technology and green power to keep countries going and there were currently not enough power stations to deliver this power. He also referred to food self-sufficiency and model building on arable land. To which Ben Smith stated although he respected Councillor Collins opinions it was time to increase the resilience and move towards renewable and green energy and by reducing the demand for oil and gas would make the country more resilient. That 20% of the country’s land was used to grow crops and at this time was not worried too much about lack of food becoming an issue. Councillor Redsell agreed this was not such a concern at this time but commented that developers may need to include electric charges in new homes and asked for allotments also be included in the consultation. Leigh Nicholson stated it would be about getting the right balance, to look at the short-listed actions and to look at everything as a package.
Members discussed how wind power could be used more locally by schools, business or even residents.
Members also discussed how packaging, such as compressed cardboard could be disposed of and the options to reduce waste including food waste.
Members also discussed the use of batteries and how these were disposed of to which again these would form part of the actions of the consultation.
At 7.45pm, Ben Smith left the meeting.