Agenda item

Public Question Time

In accordance with Chichester District Council’s scheme for public question time and with reference with to standing order 6 in Part 4 A and section 5.6 in Part 5 of the Chichester District Council Constitution, the Cabinet will receive any questions which have been submitted by members of the public in writing by noon on the previous working day. The total time allocated for public question time is 15 minutes subject to the chairman’s discretion to extend that period.


The following public questions were submitted. The responses provided are indicated in itallics.


Question 1 - Mr Andrew Kerry-Bedell


What is CDC prepared to deliver if a climate emergency is declared?


The following answer was provided by Mrs Plant:


Carbon reduction is already the focus of many work streams within the Council. However it is recognised that to meet the Government’s objective to move to a carbon neutral environment, then everyone has a more significant role to play, acknowledging that the Council will be instrumental in this process.


The Council is also mindful of the need to ensure any identified actions demonstrably reduce carbon and is committed to a complete refresh of the Councils Climate Change Action Plan.


Subject to the Cabinet recommendations in the report within the agenda papers being agreed, a member and officer working group via the Council’s Environment Panel will develop a new action plan which will be reported back to Cabinet later in the year.


It is expected that the Environment Panel will initially focus on the carbon reduction recommendations within the Council’s remit identified in the UK Committee on Climate Change Report 2018.


It is likely to also focus on;


  • possible adaption measures, looking at  practices, buildings and infrastructure within the Council,
  • recognising the Council’s role in helping to build resilient communities by identifying and engaging with key people and organisations within the community. 
  • seeding action within the wider community.  For example, policies for sustainable homes and sustainable drainage
  • leading on other local authority related initiatives such as increasing modal shift, reducing the use of single use plastics and increasing recycling rates. 


We expect that the Cabinet will make the final decision on the priority areas for action in November 2019.


Mr Kerry-Bedell requested the opportunity to ask a supplementary question which Mrs Lintill allowed. The question related to whether the council would be appointing a Climate Change Officer. Mrs Lintill responded and explained that the work of the Environment Panel would inform the decision of whether a Climate Change Officer is required.


Question 2 - Mr Andrew Kerry-Bedell


15 Hampshire Councils have stopped giving planning permissions and halted new house building until a mechanism to deliver Nitrate-neutral developments is agreed. Why hasn’t CDC done the same?


The following answer was provided by Mrs Taylor:


Officers receive formal consultation advice from Natural England where relevant when considering planning applications for new housing development. Whilst Natural England has not so far raised this as an issue for Chichester District Council in determining planning applications, officers are aware of this important matter and are currently working with Natural England and others to identify appropriate measures to mitigate the impact of nitrates on the designated Special Protection Area of Chichester Harbour arising from new housing within the Chichester Local Plan area, should it prove necessary.


Mr Kerry-Bedell requested the opportunity to ask a further supplementary question which Mrs Lintill allowed. The question related to the 2018 Chichester District Council report and whether there is spare water treatment capacity at Apuldram, Loxwood and Tangmere and how this information will be gathered by the council. Mrs Taylor responded and explained that the information has already been requested from Southern Water.


Question 3 - Mr Andrew Kerry-Bedell


Confirmation of exactly what plant work was done to increase capacity since 2014 at Southern Water Thornham waste water treatment works to remove 75% of Nitrogen (Urban Waste Water Treatment Regulations 1994 (Section 5(3)). This includes confirmation of what residual capacity is available given A) Oct 2013 CDC report Settlement Capacity Profiles P58 indicates only 1,700 dwelling capacity remaining and B) Current CDC and HBC Local Plan housing allocations below taken from Local Plans for CDC and HBC (recently submitted).


The following answer was provided by Mrs Taylor:


The Council is not responsible for either designing or implementing upgrades to plant and equipment at the Waste Water Treatment Works and so does not have the information sought readily available. Details have been requested from Southern Water and when this is received it can be provided.


The Chichester Water Quality Assessment prepared to inform the Local Plan Review identified a headroom figure of 1063 dwellings for Thornham WWTW at the end of 2017. Headroom tables are published on the Council’s website and are updated regularly to take account of new development.  The most recent table indicates that as at 31 March 2019 there was remaining capacity of 1012 dwellings at Thornham.  It is our understanding that the majority of planned new development within Havant will not drain to Thornham but to Budds Farm (in Havant Borough). Nevertheless, officers are currently reviewing the headroom calculations with Southern Water and the Environment Agency as part of updating the evidence base for the Local Plan Review.’


Question - Mr Tom Broughton


Does the council know that according to the latest published Government figures, that in 2016 the average national per capita emissions of carbon dioxide was 5.4 tonnes per capita, for West Sussex the average was 4.5 tonnes per capita and for Chichester District it was 5.7 tonnes per capita. The question must be asked, why is the per capita emissions in the Chichester District so high?


The following answer was provided by Mrs Plant:


In response to your question, I can confirm that the Council is aware that in 2016, the per capita emissions of carbon dioxide was 5.7 tonnes.  Within the last month, the 2017 emissions data has been released and the figure for Chichester District was 5.5 tonnes per capita (person) with the average for West Sussex being 4.4 tonnes per capita.


Higher emissions in Chichester District compared to the County average is a reflection of the nature of our District, being a largely rural area.  This rural nature of the District means that there is a heavy reliance on road transport and therefore a high level of emissions from transport at 2.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide per capita, with transport emissions for the rest of the County ranging from 0.9 tonnes per capita in Worthing to 2.2 tonnes per capita in Crawley, Horsham and Mid Sussex.


Secondly, our industry and commercial emissions are also higher than the other Districts at 2.16 tonnes per capita compared to 0.74 tonnes per capita in Adur.  Again this is a reflection of the industries in our area compared to other Districts, including the amount of agriculture.  The rural nature of our District also means that there is a higher reliance on oil by both industry and domestic properties.  Our emissions from the domestic sector is slightly higher than the other Districts in West Sussex at 1.7 tonnes per capita, with Horsham at 1.6 tonnes per capita and Arun at 1.5 tonnes per capita.


We have seen a 5% reduction in total emissions per capita from 2016 to 2017 but we recognise that there is still more to be done.  I draw your attention to item 7 on the agenda which recommends the declaration by the Council of a Climate Emergency and the process for taking further action.