Cabinet – 19 September 2006
Item 4. Petitions and Public Address
Councillor Paul Sargent (City Councillor for Carfax) wishes to present a petition relating to the closure of Bulwarks Lane.
Councillor Susannah Pressel (City Councillor for Jericho and Osney Ward) wishes to present a petition relating to Agenda Item 9 which opposes the charges for residents’ parking in the city. She will present her petition at Item 9.
Councillor Barbara Gatehouse wishes to present a petition relating to Agenda Item 9 which reflects the concerns of residents in Blackbird Leys regarding the proposal to introduce parking charges for match day parking. She will present her petition at Item 9.
9. Oxford Controlled Parking and Residents’ Parking Zones
Councillor Jean Fooks wishes the Cabinet to consider the following comments as she is unable to attend in person:
Firstly, the consultation was seen as biased in favour of the desired outcome. It should have been sent to all city residents, not just to those in existing or imminent Controlled Parking Zones.
Secondly, some detailed comments:
10. Oxfordshire Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy & 11. Procurement of Waste Treatment Facilities
At its meeting on 11 September, the City Council passed the following recommendations of direct relevance to the County Council:
I am a little concerned to see in paragraph 28 of CA11 that the procurement of an in-vessel composting plant is listed as one of a group of all new facilities needed. We would urge the County Council to prioritise the procurement of such a facility to enable all districts to collect kitchen waste for composting as soon as possible, as it is a substantial component of the residual waste stream and that most likely to cause concern when collected fortnightly.
This weekend, I learned that you will be discussing and no doubt endorsing the need to procure waste treatment facilities for Oxfordshire. I am an Oxfordshire resident and I have researched this subject in my spare time, and I agree that this is needed and should be procured without delay. I also responded in detail to the "No time to waste" public engagement.
I would like to draw your attention to some issues:
Energy from Waste (EfW) versus Advanced Thermal Treatment (ATT)
Be aware that EfW creates persistent organic pollutants including dioxins and furans that need subsequent extraction from the chimney gases, and safe disposal. ATT reliably destroys these pollutants because of the evenly distributed higher temperatures achieved, and after that no gases go up any chimney until they have been 'scrubbed' and then burned in an electricity generator.
Be aware that the Scrutiny Committee's 2005 report erroneously referred to EfW as 'combined heat and power'. EfW (which I take to mean conventional incineration) is very unlikely to make use of combined heat and power as it is politically impossible to site it close enough to premises that can make use of the piped heat available. ATT is politically, and also in reality, more acceptable because plants can be smaller, are reliably clean, and can be sited in industrial or commercial areas or adjacent to Council property.
Annex 2, Waste Treatment Technologies, states that "... ATT is not proven in the UK for treating mixed household waste, and there are therefore both operational and financing risks." It may be true that it is not proven in the UK, but it is well proven elsewhere. I am told, by someone from a charitable organisation responsible for purchasing gasification equipment, that there are over 200 gasifiers treating MSW in Japan. The large manufacturers sell world-wide and are perplexed when they get to Britain and are told that it is 'unproven'. In view of these opposing views on risk, the primary source of the information on whether or not it is proven must be checked. Are there vested interests at work?
Collection of food waste
I was delighted to read in the OWP's Oxfordshire Joint Municipal Waste Strategy that the collection authorities are actively pursuing the separate weekly collection of domestic food waste. This could be treated in anaerobic digesters (without the addition of garden waste) and the gas used to generate electricity. It may also be possible to site them close enough to premises that can use the waste heat, increasing efficiency and revenues. The "mechanical" element of MBT is rendered redundant by separate collection of food waste. It is really worth doing!
Disposal of organic residues from composting and digesters
The EU subsidies paid to farmers have recently been completely decoupled from the crops grown. As part of the deal, farmers now have to look after their soils or risk losing some of their subsidy. This is known as GAEC (good agricultural and environmental condition). Organic matter that is free of pollutants, and plant and animal pathogens will be in demand, because soils high in organic matter are more resistant to compaction. There is not enough farm-produced organic matter to achieve this.
Anaerobic digesters and ATT, with their associated electricity generators and heat (CHP) fit in neatly with the concept of "decentralised energy". What is decentralised energy? Woking Borough Council, over a ten year period, set out to build small scale electricity generators (gas fired I believe) to supply their own estate with electricity and heat. This is now complete, and they have reduced the greenhouse gas emissions of their estate by a staggering 77%. This comes about because they can use the waste heat for space heating (and I believe air conditioning, but not sure how). They are now beginning to sell some of the surplus heat to the private sector. Woking was awarded Beacon status for this work. I think generators attached to digesters and ATT are of the right capacity for this concept.
I hope this gives you food for thought, and I hope you will have in your minds the urgency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at every opportunity, and with every Council spending decision.
12. Westgate Redevelopment, Oxford
I read a news report that you are about to endorse the Westgate Partnership's planning application for redeveloping the Westgate Centre in Oxford.
I realise it is mainly transport that is relevant to the County, but you need to be aware that it is not a very 'green' development, and as you have signed the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change, I assume that you will take this opportunity to live up to its principles.
I have been made aware of the supporting paper for your meeting on Tuesday (19 Sept.) and that policies G2 and G6 of the Oxfordshire Structure Plan 2016 are relevant. These are about environmental impact, and energy and resource conservation respectively.
I found, having studied it, that the plan does not live up to these policies, and I do hope you will be able to point this out to Oxford City Council in the response you agree on at Tuesday's Cabinet meeting.
On Tuesday 19 September you will be considering a 30 page report (Item CA12) on the planning application for redevelopment and extension of the Westgate Centre in Oxford. An article in Friday's Oxford Mail suggests, without qualification, that you will be supporting the application.
I would like to draw your attention to the issue of the so-called sustainability of the development which you may not wish to endorse, or appear to endorse. A considered and detailed objection to this development has been submitted by a group of Oxfordshire residents on the grounds that inspite of appearances the proposed development makes no concessions to energy efficiency measures in its design that will reduce CO2 emissions, the main cause of global warming. This report can be found at:
Scroll down the long list of documents to Public Comment - it is the larger of the two that were submitted on 30 August
I urge you to consider this report. If the Westgate development goes ahead as proposed Oxford, a centre for research into the causes and effects of climate change, the Council will not only be acting in direct contradiction to its stated policy as a signatory to the Nottingham Declaration but will have missed an opportunity to place itself at the forefront of the fight to mitigate global warming. Human induced climate change is the biggest threat to our civilisation and those like yourself in a position to address the issue owe it to our children to do so.
My request as a voter, to you as guardians of the public interest:
The last paragraph (para. 16) of the Council's draft response at Annex 4 of the report be changed along the following lines:
16. In the light of increasing consensus for urgent action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and relevant policies G2 and G6 of the Oxfordshire Structure Plan 2016, the Westgate Partnership should be required to achieve at least the "Excellent" band for BREEAM (i.e. 70+ out of 100) and preferably the upper part of that band. Avoiding demolition of good buildings should be a high priority. Reasonable return on investment can still be obtained when these considerations are addressed.
The following amendments to CA12 were also AGREED:
Page 3 (Paragraph 14)
would however require the demolition of 14 existing residential
units at Abbey Place, the Duke of York public house and all of the
Oxford and Cherwell Valley College buildings
Page 16 (Paragraph 84)
& Ride improvements, provision of cycle stands – and non-transport
measures as referred to in
Page 30 (Paragraph 14)
Hall and Oxford Castle provided the conditions in paragraphs
15. National Framework
for NHS Continuing Healthcare and NHS-funded Nursing Care