Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend DA12 1AU. View directions
Contact: Committee Section
Apologies for absence
No apologies for absence received.</AI1>
The minutes of the meeting held on 10 May 2022 were signed by the Chair.
Declaration of Interest
No declarations of interest were made.
The Climate Action Delivery Manager presented members with the Climate Change Delivery Plan for consideration and set out preparation for the council’s third Annual Report.
Officers from across the services reported on their related areas.
Priority 1: GBC – The organisation
Educate all council Members and officers on Climate Change
· 43 staff completed the Carbon Literacy training, 22 of those have made pledges and been certified and a number of staff have made pledges but await confirmation that they are good enough to be certified. A few people haven’t yet made pledges.
· To become a Carbon Literate Organisation we have to meet certain criteria for achieving Bronze, Silver and Gold. At the moment we can go for the Bronze level. The next stage is Silver where 15% of our staff must be accredited so 75 staff. We have trained 43 and certified 22 so to get to 75 will take us longer but we can go for Bronze and work towards Silver over the coming months.
The Assistant Director (IT & Transformation) and the Climate Action Delivery Manager responded to questions regarding the training as follows:
· You have to make two pledges, one in your professional life and the impact you can make in your working environment and the other is an impact on your private life. They are checked by the Carbon Literacy Project to ensure they are suitably robust.
· In terms of what the output of that is, it’s about raising the awareness of how our actions affect the carbon emissions of the authority so we undertake our business with that in mind and understanding the implications of our decisions.
· An example of a professional pledge would be looking at the area of work you are involved in and an action that could be changed in your service or what you could do to further promote carbon literacy with your colleagues as champion in your area. It could be direct action or advocacy.
· In terms of personal pledges, it isn’t just saying I am just going to go over to a Green Energy Tariff, it must be more robust than that, something which will have a more significant impact.
· In terms of accreditation, we have already met the criteria for Bronze. Each accreditation level has different costs, Bronze is £1500 and Silver is £2500 so if the organisation upgrades within 3 years then it deducts the amount from the previous level and the difference has to be paid, £2500-£1500 so £1000 has to be paid for Silver instead of the full price of £2500. We will take a report to Management Team in due course.
· In terms of how long it will take to train the additional 32 staff and get them accredited, I would say it would hopefully be within six months to a year.
· All Kent Districts are doing the training.
· Because the pledges are personal to the individual they aren’t shared so it is very difficult to give a list of examples of what other people ... view the full minutes text for item 18.
The Service Manager (Housing Operations) and the Parks and Open Space Manager provided an update on work regarding biodiversity and tree planting in the borough and outlined the plans for the next 12 months.
· It is a significant piece of work but work has started and will be completed by the end of this financial year.
· Towards the end of 2021/22 there were 3,174 trees planted in a number of locations, 146 were standards and heavy standards and the remainder whips that were planted as natural boundaries and as part of memorial and rewilding areas.
· Wildflowers were introduced at 12 locations within the borough and we had more success at some sites than others due to the hot summer but it’s hoped there will be growth in those areas next year.
· The report outlines positive steps by us in taking a different approach to the lake at the Prom to encourage a natural habitat to increase wildlife.
· The bee garden at Windmill Hill has expanded to include flower beds.
· There has been 20 bat, bird and owl boxes installed in various locations in the borough to promote habitat for wildlife and whilst it will take many years we are confident they are in the right location.
· The council is making every effort to enhance open spaces but also defining the urban space for people to enjoy tranquillity as well as space for light physical exercise for animals and owners. There is a need to improve the aesthetics for social benefits as well as an opportunity for biodiversity. This will be done by developing an identity for each of the parks and open spaces in the borough (Heritage/Biodiversity/Leisure).
· The council are also now part of the newly formed Kent and Medway Plan Tree Partnership Steering Group and Delivery Group to review the overall tree strategy to increase coverage in Gravesham by 8% by 2030.
· Continuing to increase planting heavy standard trees across the borough. In the process or ordering 150 heavy standard trees which bring a faster sequestering of carbon and habitat of wildlife.
· To assist the overall efforts for tree planting we will work with DEFRA approved charities such as MORE: Trees and Trees for Cities and KCC programmes like ‘Trees outside Woodlands’ to soften landscape by planting natural hedgerows.
· As well as planting new trees it is essential to look after what we have and so we will be using recycled woodchip as mulch to contain moisture.
· With the help of Lower Thames Crossing (LTC) funding and North Kent Countryside Partnership we are proposing to plant ferns, heathers, lowland shrubs and trees to encourage and protect wildlife.
· Moving into the second phase of the Gordon Lake with the continued development of the surrounding of the lake by planting suitable water reed and vegetation to encourage birdlife and offer protection from the elements. This will include the development of a more sustainable water filtration system, energy-efficient water aeration system and floating island water beds that will ... view the full minutes text for item 19.