Minutes of the Renewable Energy Generation Committee Meeting held in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall, Bideford, on Tuesday 19 September 2018 at 3.37 pm
Councillor P Christie
Councillor J Day (Chairman)
Councillor B Wootton
Councillor R Craigie
Miss T Chilcott (Plastic Reduction)
Mr R Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
26. ELECTION OF CHAIRMAN
Councillor Day was proposed by Councillor Christie and seconded by Councillor Wootton.
RESOLVED: That Councillor Day is appointed as Chairman of the Committee for the coming year.
Vote: For: 4, Against: 0)
(Councillor Day assumed the Chair and thanked the Members for their vote.)
27. ELECTION OF A DEPUTY CHAIRMAN
Councillor McKenzie was proposed, in his absence, by Councillor Day and seconded by Councillor Christie.
RESOLVED: That Councillor McKenzie is appointed as Deputy Chairman of the Committee for the coming year.
Vote: For: 4, Against: 0)
28. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Councillors Brenton (South Ward – personal) and J McKenzie (East Ward – personal).
29. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA
There were no declarations of interest.
30. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PERIOD
There were no members of the public.
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 20 March 2018 were approved and signed as a correct record.
(Vote – For: 3, Against: 0, Abstention: 1)
32. PLASTIC REDUCTION STRATEGY
Miss Chilcott thanked the Members for the opportunity to speak to them. A fervent advocate for plastic reduction she gave detail on her background in Event Management and Marketing. She advised that she gave aside one day a week to volunteering in waste reduction / awareness section.
In promoting awareness at local level, she touched on fundraising referencing crowd funding opportunities. She introduced the idea of sustainable events and showed a video, from an organisation: Precious Plastic, where volunteers collect their waste taking it to a dedicated Plastic Recycling Work Space. Looking largely like a storage container, the received plastics are segregated, “shredded”, melted down the items are then moulded into products for sale.
Further initiatives that have been adopted in Westward Ho! and Instow (and wider) where members of the Public are invited to take part in a “2 Minute Beach Clean” and “2 Minute Litter Pick” (start-up costs between £340 - £450).
She alluded to events that she had supported and spoke of screening events of the “A Plastic Ocean”. Art Work Exhibitions have been organised, with local artists, to help people learn more about the implications of and opportunities to reduce waste. (The Deputy Town Clerk advised that a Market Tenant was in the throes of staging an event.)
Miss Chilcott explained that she had taken part in a sponsored paddle board from London to “the sea”, collecting rubbish and engaging / teaching school children along the way; this could be replicated along the Torridge.
(Councillor Wootton left the Meeting.)
She finished by advising that less than half of the plastic (water) bottles are recycled. There are alternatives, the “edible water bubble” drinks have been used in the London Marathon. The gelatinous sphere called the Ooho contains one portion of water; the packaging can be eaten (or put it in one’s compost bin). The “Can o water” and also the Refill Devon Project: Refill is a free tap water initiative designed to reduce plastic pollution and promote healthy hydration by making refilling a water bottle easy, social and rewarding; there is a refill app – there are 14 participating concerns and other businesses in Bideford (a round, blue sticker in the window, invites one in to fill up their bottles - for free).
Miss Chilcott welcomed Morrisons Grocery stores who were changing to paper bags.
Discussion followed including the importance of educating the public / school children and the need to create a momentum. Councillor Craigie though wondered that changing from polystyrene to cardboard (and paper) might not impact open the forests.
Councillor Christie cited his involvement with the Plastic Free Coastline / Surfers Against Sewage confirmed that many cafes were now plastic free. He stated that the Council were plastic free and, through the Staffing, Finance and General Purposes Committee, were investigating a water fountain in Jubilee Square. He added that Councillors A T Inch and Langmead were involved, the latter being the lead Member for recycling at TDC. He noted that TDC had purchased twelve new recycling lorries at £135,000 a piece; there is a revenue stream from the plastics they sell.
Also, a Plastic Free Group representation visited a (recycling) Plant in Exeter; members of the public can also visit.
The Chairman led discussion on hot composting as a means to break down waste.
Further discussion included whether the Council could request an Eco assessment / alternative use statement from those wishing to engage in the Bideford Fayre. Councillor Christie suggested an entry into the Grant criteria for 2020 / 2021 include a sentence of reducing plastic usage.
Given that the half marathon produced thousands of water bottles he felt that TDC / BTC and the Bridge Trust could develop their Eco criteria.
The Chairman thanked Miss Chilcott for her presentation.
33. NEIGHBOURHOOD PLAN – SUSTAINABILITY
The Chairman gave a brief description of the Neighbourhood Plan opportunity for the Community to engage in shaping their destiny. He spoke of a sustainable transport policy that could include car sharing incentives and cycle friendly areas developed. Councillor Craigie believed that each “new build” should have a car charging point noting that in London there were numerous car charging points in car parking areas.
The Chairman advised that contracts had been agreed with the Company, Charge Point and TDC, Licences to follow. Two carparking spaces will be freed from the Riverbank Car Park (also Churchfield, Appledore, Manor, Holsworthy and South Street, Torrington); there will be four rapid chargers. More were needed especially in the private sector.
Further points made included the facilitating of Community Energy Companies, efficiency standards and the use of ecological / sustainable building materials.
A Neighbourhood Planning Meeting is to be convened in October, but the item would remain on future Renewable Committee Agendas.
34. RURAL COMMUNITY ENERGY FUND
The Chairman advised that the South West Water (SWW) / Cornborough Project was found to be not viable and could not be pursued.
Work was continuing on the SWW / Ashford that had the potential for a one Megawatt (MW = 1,000 kW) on four acres of land. (The sewage plant supports the whole of Barnstaple.)
There will be a meeting with SWW on 10 October 2018 in Exeter to discuss the purchase of the electricity generated. SWW have large carbon reduction targets needing to reduce by 20 % to meet their sustainability target by 2020.
The cost of the project is £1.2 million including solar panels with an addition £125,000 charge (for the Grid). The Landowner is sympathetic but there is a concern that glare might be an issue with local householders; a meeting will be arranged with the North Devon Council.
Councillor Christie indicated that the area is within the BIO sphere – he indicated that the Manager of the Taw and Torridge BIO sphere would be worth contacting.
The Chairman felt that £2 – 3,000 would be given to the Community Fund annually rising incrementally.
He confirmed that the RCEF Fund had been re-negotiated to 31 December 2018.
35. POLLYFIELD CROWDFUNDED PROJECT
The Chairman confirmed that Pollyfield Community Centre installation (up to 7 kW) was going ahead – three quotations had been obtained.
He gave a breakdown of the funding:
£4,400 raised on line
£1,000 Marks and Spencer
£2,000 Pollyfield Community Centre
and sought a further payment to include the opportunity to provide Business Names on two panels.
Proposed by Councillor Day and seconded by Councillor Craigie.
RECOMMENDED: That £500 is provided to support the Pollyfield Crowdfunded project.
(Vote: For: 3, Against: 0)
36. ENGAGEMENT OF VAT ADVISOR
The Chairman respected the position of the Market stakeholders and did not wish to champion an array that adversely impacted upon their respective business models. He had engaged with the PV community, Community Renewables and 361 Energy CIC. It was, they felt, an area of knowledge that was niche to the Parish and Town Councils as opposed to the installer (361 certainly could not indemnify against any such advice). He advised that the installation quotations to date were within the £20,000 agreed figure. Given the potential implications to the Market specifically and the Council generally he felt the opportunity to engage a former Town Clerk and VAT specialist, provided the opportunity to put the issue to bed. Councillor Craigie concurred.
Proposed by Councillor Day and seconded by Councillor Christie.
RECOMMENDED: That A VAT assessor is engaged at a cost of £500.
(Vote: For: 3, Against: 0)
The Chairman thanked the Members for their attendance and concluded the Meeting at 5.07 pm.