Minutes of the Decarbonisation and Environment Committee Meeting held in the Council Chamber on Thursday 18 November 2021 at 6.30 pm
Councillor J Craigie (Chairman)
Councillor Mrs R Craigie
Councillor J McKenzie
Councillor Mrs S Langford
Councillor J Herron
Mr R Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
8. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Councillors Mrs Corfe (West Ward – work commitment).
9. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA
Councillor J Craigie declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 5 (Member, Carbon Neutral Torridge).
10. PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PERIOD
There were no members of the Public in attendance.
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 25 May 2021 were approved and signed as a correct record.
(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)
12. BIDEFORD PARISH – TREE STRATEGY – QUOTATION
Members had sight of a quotation from Carbon Neutral Torridge that divided cost areas but also explained the benefits of trees within an urban setting in terms of social, economic and health provision. It’s aim to provide for the Council the detail to understand the current level of Carbon being sequestered by Trees within the Parish and recommendations.
The preparation of a Bideford Parish Tree Strategy would be based on a full review of existing Tree Strategies that are registered with the Tree Council of Britain from Towns and Cities across Britain.
The Chairman explained that the only company that would provide an alternative full tree inventory quotation, Treeconomics, charged in the region of £10,000 - £20,000 and were simply cost prohibitive.
He explained that much of the cost was the time taken in measuring each individual tree and the process involved.
By establishing an inventory of trees, their environmental benefit, a future course can be determined in terms of increasing numbers.
Councillor Mrs Craigie advised Members that TDC councillors had been given an extra £600 allowance to be directed towards environmental initiatives.
Discussion followed on the quotation headings including technologies, software, mapping, training volunteers, engaging schools and young people in the process and the establishment of a Charity. (Councillor Mrs Langford did not think establishing a Charity appropriate given Council’s commitment to the environment and allocated funding.)
Canopy Mapping provides more accurate and precise detail on absorption. The Chairman noted that Torbay Council had paid £15,000 for the specific assessment.
Although overhead imagery can include all trees within a Parish it will not give 100% detail on all trees. The Chairman indicated that the aim would be to obtain 5% each year with most trees covered over a ten / twenty year period.
There are a number of Apps, that use mobile ‘phone technology, that can identify species (Woodland Tree app), data input opportunities that utilised GPS (pinpoint accuracy) that can help with the inventory process.
The Members agreed that they should like to engage Carbon Neutral Torridge with the first two elements of the quotation:
1. Tree Strategy Document. A document of available tree policy options based on research of existing tree strategies from towns and cities in the UK at £1,500.
2. Tree Canopy Mapping. Creation of a GIS Map of the Parish, both urban and rural areas, provide a canopy cover estimate at £500.
The three TDC Members expressed a willingness to commit £500 each of their environmental bounty.
It was proposed by Councillor Mrs R Craigie, seconded by Councillor Mrs S Langford, and
RECOMENDED: That Carbon Neutral Torridge are engaged to provide a Tree Strategy Document and Tree Canopy Mapping detail at a cost of £2,000.
Vote: (For: 5, Against: 0)
13. EDEN REFORESTATION PROJECT – DONATION FOR TREE PLANTING
On introducing the item, it became apparent that Members had confused the Eden Reforestation Project with the Eden Project in Cornwall.
The initiative centred on those projects in developing countries where it was cost effective to restore forested areas.
The Chairman spoke about Madagascar where deforestation had caused much damage with the removal of topsoil. He went on to explain the success, greater than 100% over two to three years, of mango planting where floating seeds grow back into the forest quickly.
Members agreed to defer the item for further information.
14. BIDEFORD DRIVING RESPONSIBLY – TWENTY’S PLENTY
Councillor Herron explained that he had met two members of the “20s Plenty” Campaign group and a number of councillors across Devon who were not prepared to simply wait the fallout from DCC’s Newton Abbot speed control initiative. There are hundreds of towns throughout Europe, Wales and Scotland that have adopted reduced speeds. Brighton has adopted it wholesale, also. Merchandise is available including bumper and green wheelie bin stickers. In addition to the safety aspects the climate will benefit from restricted driving speeds.
The Chairman indicated that change takes time. The introduction of seat belts and drive limits were enshrined by law, the recommendation would not be legally enforceable.
Councillor Mckenzie noted that there had been very few road deaths, statistics were not supportive.
Members generally expressed support for a campaign, welcoming visitors to the Town requesting that they drive safely; education (engaging young people) and advertising was discussed.
It was proposed by Councillor Mrs S Langford, seconded by Councillor J Craigie, and
RECOMENDED: That a budget provision of £500 is made available to develop and promote a local speed awareness campaign, “20’s Plenty.” Councillors J Craigie and Herron work together and present detail to the next Committee Meeting.
Vote: (For: 5, Against: 0)
15. FUNDING REQUEST FOR PRE-FEASIBILITY SCOPING EXERCISE ON WATER SOURCE HEAT PUMPS FOR A DISTRICT HEATING SCHEME
Members had received a document titled “Bideford Water Source Heat Pump Commission,” a “CEF Pre-feasibility Study Proposal.”
The Chairman advised that two officers from TDC, including the Economic Development Officer Chris Fuller and himself, were seeking DCC agreement to provide funding from their Community Energy Funding for the pre-feasibility scoping exercise on Water Source Heat Pumps for a District Heating Scheme by proving financial commitment from stakeholders.
Councillor Mrs R Craigie indicated that the TDC Climate Committee were not aware of the Project nor funding request.
Councillor Mrs Langford confirmed that the Officer led initiative had not been put before TDC and that there was no TDC financial commitment.
Members whilst expressing support for a Water Source Heat Pump initiative deferred any decision until more information was provided demonstrating the financial commitment of TDC and other bodies.
16. CLIMATE AND ECOLOGICAL EMERGENCY BILL – LOCAL MP RESPONSE
Members noted the response from the Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Cox QC on the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill.
The Chairman thanked the Members for their attendance and support. He concluded the Meeting at 7.57 pm.