Agenda and minutes

Community Safety and Environment Policy and Accountability Committee - Monday, 20th November, 2017 7.00 pm

Venue: Courtyard Room - Hammersmith Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Ainsley Gilbert 020 8753 2088 

Items
No. Item

16.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 320 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 18 September 2017.

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED

That the minutes of the meeting held on 18 September 2017 be approved as an accurate record.

17.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Charlie Dewhirst.

18.

Declarations of interest

If a Councillor has a disclosable pecuniary interest in a particular item, whether or not it is entered in the Authority’s register of interests, or any other significant interest which they consider should be declared in the public interest, they should declare the existence and, unless it is a sensitive interest as defined in the Member Code of Conduct, the nature of the interest at the commencement of the consideration of that item or as soon as it becomes apparent.

 

At meetings where members of the public are allowed to be in attendance and speak, any Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest or other significant interest may also make representations, give evidence or answer questions about the matter. The Councillor must then withdraw immediately from the meeting before the matter is discussed and any vote taken.

 

Where Members of the public are not allowed to be in attendance and speak, then the Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest should withdraw from the meeting whilst the matter is under consideration. Councillors who have declared other significant interests should also withdraw from the meeting if they consider their continued participation in the matter would not be reasonable in the circumstances and may give rise to a perception of a conflict of interest.

 

Councillors are not obliged to withdraw from the meeting where a dispensation to that effect has been obtained from the Audit, Pensions and Standards Committee.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

19.

Report of the Hammersmith & Fulham Biodiversity Commission pdf icon PDF 221 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members of the Biodiversity Commission gave a presentation outlining the Commission’s work and the key findings and recommendations of their report.

 

The Chair thanked the Commissioners for their report; he said that receiving the report was one of the highlights of his Chairmanship of the PAC as it was a very impressive piece of work and because it exemplified the success which could come from the Council’s policy of doing things with residents rather than to them.

 

Councillor Hamilton said that he felt the Biodiversity Commission had been overly negative about the UK’s environmental policy after Brexit; he felt that the UK should be seeking to have better protection for the environment than current EU law gave it. He said that he was concerned about proposals that roads should be closed between parks and schools owing to the likely traffic impact, especially as those examples in his ward were private rather than state schools. Councillor Hamilton was also concerned that wildflower meadows were not introduced to the detriment of space for children to play in and also said that Astroturf might be appropriate in some cases to allow sport to be played all year round. He also said that the use of herbicides might be appropriate, for example, on pavements where the likelihood of their affecting other flora and fauna than weeds was low. Councillor Hamilton also said that he did not feel that the suggestion that advice on how to be greener should be sent out in a paper form, which was in itself not very environmentally friendly.

 

Councillor Harcourt said that he was very impressed by the work of the Biodiversity Commission and said that he felt Councillor Hamilton had been overly negative about the report. He disagreed with Councillor Hamilton’s suggestion that the UK Government might deliver better protection for the environment than the EU, saying that he did not believe that it would be a priority for the Government. Councillor Harcourt said that it might well be possible to close some roads between schools and parks, noting that if a road passing a school was so heavily used that it could not be closed, it was likely to be a safety risk for pupils. He added that the body of scientific evidence against the use of herbicides and pesticides was significant and that the Council’s banning of Glysophate was the right thing to do. Councillor Harcourt said that it was the Council’s ambition to be the Greenest Borough and felt that the report gave many useful suggestions on ways in which this could be achieved. He also praised the work of the Commissioners and all of those who volunteered their time to make the borough a greener, more pleasant place to live, such as the friends of groups in parks.

 

Morag Carmichael said that the report required only that the level of protection afforded by the EU be maintained; she would be very happy if the Government wished to extend these protections further, but the Commission  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

Helicopter Noise Issues pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Minutes:

Paul Baker gave a presentation outlining why helicopter noise was a problem in Hammersmith and Fulham, what noise controls existed to limit this and what the Council could do to reduce the impact on residents.

 

The Chair thanked Mr Baker for his report and explained that the Council had appointed him as a member of the London Heliport Consultative Committee. He said that the Committee lacked any real power, and had previously been fairly unsuccessful, however, recently it had started to take a firmer line with the Heliport; this had resulted in the commissioning of a Helicopter noise survey. The survey was the first to be carried out in the history of the heliport, and the results were expected in December 2017.

 

Christina Smyth said that there was an issue with the legislative regime being very light touch, with the impact of helicopter routing not being scrutinised adequately. She felt that the Mayor and the UK Government needed to be lobbied to get power devolved to London and to try to encourage dispersal of flights in built up areas. She also noted that the Heliport had been uncooperative and seemed focussed only on maximising profits rather than on ensuring that residents were not unacceptably affected by their operations.

 

A resident asked who the main users of the heliport were. Councillor Culhane said that the main users were wealthy individuals going to and from London, but that helicopter tours of London were also increasing in popularity. There were peaks in usage on some event days where lots of people travelled by helicopter to events such as the British Grand Prix or Ladies Day at Royal Ascot. A resident asked whether high levels of tax were charged. Christina Smyth said that she would look into the level of tax associated with helicopter flights.

 

A resident said that they had been very concerned by a significant increase in helicopter noise over the summer; he had been unable to find out why this was and feared that a flight path had been developed over his neighbourhood. He suggested that better information from the Heliport might ease residents’ concerns. Christina Smyth said that the Heliport made it deliberately difficult for residents to get information.

 

A resident noted that most recent helicopter crashes had involved twin engined aircraft, which were currently allowed to fly away from approved safe routes; he said that he thought that this should be changed to ensure that a helicopter did not crash into residential areas of London.

 

Councillor Phibbs asked whether the Mayor of London could do anything to improve the issues identified with helicopter flights. Paul Baker explained that the Mayor currently had no powers which could be used to control aviation, however, as it seemed appropriate for the issue to be dealt with regionally it had been suggested that the Mayor should lobby to get additional powers.

 

Councillor Phibbs asked whether the 1,000 feet minimum height for helicopter flights could be enforced. Paul Baker said that the CAA could  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

London Trading Standards Week pdf icon PDF 424 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Valerie Simpson explained that the mission statement of London Trading Standards week was ‘Protecting Consumers and Safeguarding Businesses’. The campaign had focussed on a different theme each day and Hashith Shah explained that these themes had been: Underage Sales of Knives, which had been broadened to include sales of corrosive substances, Lettings Agencies, Scams and Doorstep Sales, Support for Businesses, and Product Safety. Valerie Simpson said that the week had promoted the work of trading standards and had also been good for staff morale as they had enjoyed working with and learning from officers across London. She said that the service was trying to work more closely with businesses and was also trying to commercialise its advice service.

 

Councillor Hamilton said that he felt that the Council needed to take a strong stand against the sale of Acid and Corrosive Substances. Valerie Simpson agreed that it was a very important emerging issue but noted that legislation made it difficult for the Council to do as much as it would like as it was not yet illegal for shops to sell corrosive substances to those under 18.

 

Councillor Hamilton asked what the requirements were for businesses selling second hand electrical goods. Hashith Shah explained that goods should be tested by a competent person and a new plug should be fitted unless the product was expected to be permanently connected to fixed wiring.

 

A resident asked how residents could contact the Trading Standards team. Valerie Simpson said that residents could call 020 8753 1081 or email trading.standards@lbhf.gov.uk. The Chair suggested that the team try to get their phone number changes to 020 8753 7226, meaning that the last 4 digits would be scam.

 

Councillor Cassidy asked how the team dealt with online scams and fraud. Valerie Simpson said that it was very difficult to catch those committing these types of crimes, as they were often based abroad; there were national agencies which did attempt this type of work but Council trading standards teams did not have the resources needed to investigate these offences. The Council instead focussed on educating residents so that they did not fall victim to online scams. Hashith Shah said that the Council was looking to develop a social media profile which could help them get information about scams out to residents quickly.

 

Councillor Holder asked how many resident meetings the service attended. Valerie Simpson said that officers visited sheltered accommodation very regularly and also went to other meetings on request from residents. There was also a scheme called ‘Friends Against Scams’ which was intended to ensure that everyone knew someone who had been given training on avoiding scams and this helped to get the service’s education message out to the public.

 

The Chair asked how the business community had responded to the London Trading Standards Week. Hashith Shah said that the response had generally been very positive, with businesses pleased that the Council was engaging with them, although some of those who had failed test purchases were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Work Programme and Dates of Future Meetings pdf icon PDF 208 KB

Minutes:

A resident noted that at previous meetings he had been assured that he would be given the Council’s reasoned position on self-funding litter patrols; he explained that whilst he had been sent a response, it did not explain why the Council had not taken up the suggestion of introducing patrols. Councillor Harcourt said that the issue had been discussed by officers and members of the Council’s Cabinet, but that there were fears that the Council would not have sufficient control over the actions of staff, especially if employed via a private contractor. He said that the Council continued to monitor the scheme in other areas and agreed to provide a full response to the resident.

 

Councillor Hamilton asked that an item on the placing of litter bins be added to the work programme.