Councillor Watkins stated he was pleased to be presenting his third Portfolio Holder report and updated members on the services as part of this portfolio, the successes and future plans:
• Waste collection services configuration had remained largely unchanged with three wheeled bins being collected from every household each week.
• Recycling KPI had been achieved.
• Recycling Pilot had been successful.
• Delivering the best service to ensure cemeteries remain clean, tidy and respectful.
• Address those Keep Britain Tidy scores not met.
• Waste Management Working Group had been set up.
• Roll out of the Sports and Leisure Strategy.
• Park Engagement Officers had been recruited and engaged with sport groups.
• Work will continue on improving and refreshing the Air Quality & Health Thurrock Strategy.
• Fleet Management service continued to provide key support to Environment and Highway teams.
• Address road changes where being inappropriate used.
Councillor Watkins thanked Officers, teams, community groups and residents for the work undertaken.
Councillor J Kent stated that £3.4 million had been committed to the new development of the Linford Household Waste and Recycling Centre and questioned what temporary or alternative site had been consideration whilst the development was underway. Councillor Watkins stated the Council were working with contractors to ensure that as many of the services stayed on site as much as possible whilst the work was being undertaken. The new development would be bigger, safer for residents and other services available such as reusable items for charities.
Councillor Pothecary commented on the successful pilot for supporting recycling in flats within the borough and questioned the Portfolio Holder whether funds would be committed to have the same facilities in all the flats in the borough. Councillor Watkins stated further sites had been identified following resident engagement and comments had been taken on board. The cross party Waste Management Working Group had been established which would like at those options. That better engagement with residents would be undertaken to understand what needed to be done. A consultation would shortly commence to seek the views of residents.
Councillor Spillman stated that not enough was being done to promote sport groups in the borough and asked for the Portfolio Holder assurance that this was not the case and what action would be taken to promote such groups. Councillor Watkins stated he had attended the sports awards two weeks ago and was committed and passionate about sport groups. Work would be undertaken with those groups and the community to get a better understanding on what was needed. Park Engagement Officers would also continue to work with the community on park equipment.
Councillor Holloway questioned whether the policy had changed in allowing non Thurrock residents to use the Linford Household Waste and Recycling Centre.
Councillor Worrall questioned when the Park Strategy would be complete and what clear action would be undertaken to all the parks in the borough.
Councillor Muldowney commented on the poor response times of fly tipping being reported in Chadwell and how performances were being monitored.
Councillor Allen questioned what the long term improvement would be on air quality for Tilbury residents.
Councillor Fletcher questioned the Park Strategy should integrate all the work being undertaken and ensure that the Council worked alongside all parties on this.
Councillor Redsell stated the borough was looking good and thanked the Portfolio Holder and questioned what was taking place in schools to educate young children on the importance of recycling.
Councillor Ralph stated that the results of the air quality assessment should be published.
Councillor Watkins thanked Members for their comments and responded as follows:
Councillor Holloway was advised that only Thurrock residents could use the Linford Household Waste and Recycling Centre and would investigate as to what documentation was required to be shown.
Councillors were referred to paragraph 5.4 of the agenda that listed the transformations that have taken place in the borough. The recruitment of Park Engagement Officers had engaged with the community and would play a vital part going forward.
Councillor Watkins apologised to Councillor Muldowney for the unacceptable time for fly-tipping to be removed and would investigate. Members were advised that fly-tipping issues could be reported to Officers or either himself or Councillor Huelin.
Councillor Allen was referred to the Air Quality Strategy where more robust conversations were being held with agencies and engagement was being undertaken with partners so that issues could be dealt with and resolved quicker.
Councillor Fletcher was advised that the work being done was transparent and there had been no public concerns. That a report on Park Strategy had been presented to the Cleaner Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee where it had been agreed that more community groups/forums should be created.
Councillor Redsell was advised that work had been undertaken with schools but this element would also form part of the strategy plan.