Agenda and draft minutes

Strategic Scrutiny Committee
Thursday 21st November 2019 5.30 pm

Venue: Rennes Room, Civic Centre, Paris Street, Exeter. View directions

Contact: Sharon Sissons, Democratic Services Officer  Tel: 01392 265115 or email  sharon.sissons@exeter.gov.uk

Note: The deadline for questions to be submitted to Strategic Scrutiny Committee is 10am on Monday 18 November 2019 

Items
No. Item

1.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 257 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the Place Scrutiny Committee held on 12 September 2019, and Corporate Services Scrutiny Committee held on 26 September 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the former Place Scrutiny Committee held on 12 September 2019 were taken as read, approved and signed by the Chair as correct, subject to the following amendment:-

 

In Minute 47 (Public Questions) and the correction of the name of a member of the public asking a question to read Tere Wells and not Williams.

 

The minutes of the meeting of the former Corporate Services Scrutiny Committee held on 26 September 2019 were taken as read, approved and signed by the Chair as correct.

 

Councillor D Moore sought some further information relating to the following which officers would respond to: -

·         Minute 32 - budgets relating to the public conveniences,  and the income changes derived from the offer of free car parking on Thursday nights;

·         Minute 34  -update on Zebcat and

·         Minute 35  - update on health and safety information.

 

2.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Councillors are reminded of the need to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests that relate to business on the agenda and which have not already been included in the register of interests, before any discussion takes place on the item. Unless the interest is sensitive, you must also disclose the nature of the interest. In accordance with the Council's Code of Conduct, you must then leave the room and must not participate in any further discussion of the item.  Councillors requiring clarification should seek the advice of the Monitoring Officer prior to the day of the meeting.

 

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made.

 

3.

QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC UNDER STANDING ORDER 19

Details of questions should be notified to the Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support by 10.00am at least three working days prior to the meeting.  Further information is available from Democratic Services on 01392 265115 and also on the Council web site - https://exeter.gov.uk/council-and-democracy/councillors-and-meetings/speaking-at-a-committee/

 

Minutes:

In accordance with Standing Order 19, a member of the public, Mr J Burns submitted the following question on the potential roll out of 5G in the city:-

 

5G represents untested, uninsurable, exponential escalation of wireless communications technology already considered a fundamental threat to the health of all living organisms.

 

Will Exeter City Council please interrogate the independent research with impartiality and integrity, resisting the introduction of 5G and proliferation of other frequencies for the sake of citizens and eco-systems?

 

Councillor Foale, Portfolio Holder City Development & Planning, made the following points:-

·         no requirement for planning permission for multi-national companies who may erect the necessary poles,

·         the varying medical opinion on the safety of 5G,

·         Planning Member Working Group on behalf of the Council had responded to a Government consultation,

·         he was aware of the strength of feeling by a large group of local residents and suggested that Members convene a task and finish working group.

 

Mr Burns on putting a supplementary question hoped that Councillor Foale would continue to be involved in this regard. Councillor Foale confirmed that he would be available as appropriate.

 

4.

NEW SCRUTINY PROGRESS

The Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support to present.

 

Minutes:

The Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support referred to the recent review of the Governance arrangements resulting in the establishment of two new Scrutiny Committees.  The Strategic Scrutiny Committee cuts across the corporate priorities of the Council.  He identified the changes in the scope, and although there was no longer the role of pre-scrutiny, there were other enhancements such as a greater opportunity to hold Executive to task, and for Members to initiate a call-in of decisions.  Members would also be asked to suggest a study of specific areas of interest through the setting up of task and finish working groups. The Scrutiny Programme Board would provide a sounding board for the business of Scrutiny Committee, as well as promote an understanding of how scrutiny would continue to operate. A further meeting of the Scrutiny Programme Board would be held on the 16 December to pick up on the discussions and business identified at this meeting.  A Member’s comment on the inclusion of a proposed draft framework in relation to consultation and engagement was noted and would be progressed.

 

Members noted the presentation.

 

5.

PRESENTATION OF HALT 5G PETITION pdf icon PDF 116 KB

To receive a petition referred from Devon County Council from the Exeter Halt 5G Group, which related to the Group’s concerns regarding the installation of 5G transmitters in Exeter.  The petition included an appeal to postpone the rollout of 5G in Exeter pending the outcome of an independent investigation.

 

Devon County Council had referred the petition, received in hard copy to Exeter City Council as the District Council with responsibility for planning permission in Exeter. The petition contained 107 signatures with 47 signatories identified with an Exeter address.

 

It should be noted that there is an ongoing petition on Change.Org from the Halt 5G in Exeter.

 

A briefing note is attached.

 

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed the public to the meeting and referred to the receipt of a petition referred from Devon County Council from the Exeter Halt 5G Group, as the City Council had responsibility for planning permission in the city. The petition contained 107 signatures, with 47 signatories identified with an Exeter address. It was noted that there was an ongoing petition on Change.Org from the Halt 5G in Exeter with over 1,000 signatures. The petition had been initiated to show the Group’s concerns regarding the installation of 5G transmitters in Exeter, with an appeal to postpone the rollout of 5G in Exeter pending the outcome of an independent investigation. A briefing note circulated to Members set out the main issues.

 

Members were supportive of the formation of a Task and Finish Group to discuss this matter further and during discussion raised the following points:-

 

·         experts in the field with a good level of scientific and technical knowledge should be invited, including those with a medical and planning background.

  • technical corporations should also be invited to be held account.

·         whether Exeter could follow Brighton and Hove City Council who had recently banned the installation of 5G masts, due to perceived public health concerns. The Director (BA) referred to the briefing note which set out some of the context in terms of health grounds and the limited role as a planning authority.

·         whether lampposts owned by Devon County Council were 5G enabled. The Director (DB) advised that Devon County Council had discussed the enablement of lampposts. Many local authorities had street lighting system that were low powered, wireless and remotely controlled, but he could obtain further information from the County Council if required.

 

Following the debate, Councillor Lyons formally proposed the formation of a Task and Finish Group to discuss 5G, which was seconded by Councillor Pattison. The nomination was unanimously agreed by Members.

 

The Chair welcomed the establishment of a Task and Finish Group, and advised that any such requests would be taken to the Scrutiny Programme Board to be assessed against Council priorities, and any resource implications.  It would be necessary to identify a scoping document, the number of meetings, membership, and invitations to experts in the field. A group of five members, with Councillor Newby from the Conservative Group and Councillor J Moore from the Progressive Group, together with Councillors Buswell, Owen and Pattison from the Labour Group were identified. It was noted that other Members with an interest in this subject could be invited to contribute.

 

The Corporate Manager Democratic and Civic Support responded to a Member’s enquiry about the opportunity for recommendations to be made to Executive.  He also reminded Members of the timeline of the forthcoming Programme Board, meaning that the first meeting of the task and finish group would not be convened until at least the New Year.  Three or four meetings were likely to be held over a period of two or three months before coming back to a future meeting of this Scrutiny  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

ITEMS FOR CONSIDERATION FOR FUTURE MEETINGS

·         Exeter City Futures – Update on Progress

·         Climate Change Neutral Agenda

Minutes:

The Chair referred to a number of items for future consideration by the Scrutiny Committee which included:-

 

  • Exeter City Futures an update on Progress and
  • Climate Change Neutral agenda

 

A Member also requested an update on Implementation of the Air Quality Improvement Plan.

 

Strategic Scrutiny Committee noted the items.