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Agenda item

Annual Report of the Executive Member for Environment & Transport (2017/18)

Minutes:

Councillor Webbe gave a presentation on the work of the Environment & Transport Directorate. A copy of the presentation would be interleaved with the agenda.

 

In the discussion the following points were made.

·         The meeting was advised that residents should continue to be supported by initiatives such as “Energy Doctor in the Home’, “Warmth on Prescription” and “Warm Home Discount”, which had resulted in lower energy bills.

·         2,600 residents had switched their energy supplier from one of the six main providers to the Council’s Angelic Energy, which was launched in October 2017. In addition, approximately 72% of those who signed up have switched to pre-payment meters.

·         In 2017/18, 2,548 vulnerable residents had been referred, with each being offered an average of four to five interventions. Members were reminded that, through SHINE, Islington Council has achieved an estimated average annual saving of £213 and, most important, as a result of its success SHINE funding has tripled and expanded across all London boroughs.

·         The meeting was advised that through the Solar Together London initiative, more than 400 residents had registered interest and over 100 properties had accepted the formal offer, thereby increasing solar energy in the borough by 25%. Members were informed that with more than 700 LED light fittings installed at the Town Hall had reduced electricity consumption.

·         Air pollution monitors have been placed outside schools to protect the health of the school children, and the Council, in partnership with Hackney, had introduced the first Ultra-low Emission Vehicle Zone to help tackle the city’s air pollution. In addition, the anti-idling campaign is being promoted around a number of key hotspots.

·         Members were informed that road junctions in the borough that are identified as dangerous are being transformed: Archway gyratory had been reconfigured and construction around Highbury Corner is ongoing, solely to improve pedestrian safety and to create safer cycle routes. In response to concerns about other dangerous junctions in the borough, the meeting was informed that where a junction is identified as dangerous, it will be included in the schedule of work. The Service Director, Planning and Development indicated that she would look into the Drayton Road Junction.

·         The Executive Member for Environment and Transport highlighted the Council’s plan to install a further 100 electric vehicle charging points over the next 12 months to add to the 87 units already in place.

·         The meeting was informed that although recycling rates fell in 2017/18 from 31.6% to 29.5%, the residual waste per household figure remains the lowest it has ever been. Members were also advised that the new fleet vehicles had resulted in a substantial and consistent reduction in missed collections.

·         Members were advised of the new street cleaning service, launched in June 2018, which covers every road in the borough five days a week.

·         In response to a question regarding Islington’s transport strategy, the Executive Member advised that, despite the Mayor of London’s tight submission deadline of February 2019, opportunities would be provided to ensure that councillors and various stakeholders would be allowed to contribute.

·        The Executive Member indicated that Council had plans to install more than 100 electric charging points in the next 12 months and 400 in the next four years. On concerns about light-and-noise pollution from units installed in residential areas, members were informed that where that is deemed to be unsuitable, there is a commitment to switch off the fans and lights, but members were informed that discussions are ongoing with the suppliers on the units’ design so that it addresses residents’ concerns.

·         The Executive Member for Environment and Transport acknowledged that it would be ideal if, as the Council develops its Environmental strategy, the Biodiversity Action Plan were to be included and considered, particularly as Islington Parks would be part of the strategy  

 

·         The meeting was informed that if road junctions are identified as dangerous, they would be included in the works programme and that councillors should notify council officers if they have concerns.

 

·         A request on whether the quality of the water in the Regents Canal, which looks to be polluted, could be monitored was noted by the Executive Member. 

 

·         In response to a question on whether Council was in discussion with the management of Arsenal Football Club about possible mitigation measures on the volume of traffic, congestion and pollution on match days, the Executive Member advised that Officers would have another look at match-day access and parking issues around the stadium and report back to the Committee. She reminded the meeting, however, that the council does has a targeted programme that looks at the idling of vehicles on match days and that enforcement officers manage traffic in and around the area.
 

·         On the issue of idling vehicles, particularly council vehicles, members were assured that no preferential treatment is given to council operatives; they are advised to turn their engines off. If, however, council vehicles are seen not to be complying, it should be reported to the enforcement team.

·        In response to a question on whether the Council had any plans to deal with sources of litter and refuse, rather than reacting when it had occurred, the Executive Member reminded the meeting that although that is a national issue that requires the involvement of central government and discussions with suppliers of goods and manufacturers, the Council had introduced improved recycling containers and bins to address spillage. In addition, there is a new street cleaning regime in residential areas to ensure that neighbourhoods are clean and tidy. 

·        With concerns about rubbish and refuse from flats above shops, members were informed that the Council had introduced timed rubbish collection points which have generally been kept to, and that results from surveys by Keep Britain Tidy have confirmed that the borough pavements are generally clear of black bags.

 

·         On how the Council would be addressing concerns about cyclists riding on pavements and the protection of pedestrians, the meeting was informed that part of the solution would be to create safer routes for cyclists, which it is looking to address in conjunction with neighbouring authorities and the Mayor of London.

·         In response to a question regarding measures to address air quality in the borough, the meeting was advised that, since Islington is designated an air quality management area, over the years it has implemented a number of measures, such as introducing further parking charges for high polluting vehicles, school streets,  school audits and ULEV streets, to mitigate the impact of pollution on the health of its residents. The Executive Member acknowledged that this issue could not be addressed by the Council alone and that it continues to work with neighbouring authorities and the Mayor of London, but that more would be required by central government including enacting legislation to reduce toxic air levels.

·         In response to a question on whether the Council had plans to extend the school-streets initiative across the borough, and whether it would be recommending that schools undertake pollution audits, the Executive Member welcomed the 50 audits that had been funded by the Mayor of London, but that they would need to be analysed and any actions would require funding.


RESOLVED:

That the report be noted.

 

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