To answer questions received under Council Procedure Rule 6.2.
NB In accordance with the provisions of Council Procedure Rule 6.2.9 there will be a maximum of 30 minutes allowed for questions and answers. Any question not answered within the 30 minute time limit will receive a written reply within 5 working days.
The following questions were asked under Council Procedure Rule 6.2.2:-
a) Councillor P J Scott asked the following question of Councillor R A Overton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Community Safety & Customer Services:
‘We are still seeing rogue scrap dealers driving around the area especially in Newport. What is the council doing to stop this from happening and what is the success rate to date? What can the residents do to assist in stopping rogue dealers in the area?’
Councillor R A Overton confirmed that scrap dealers must be licensed by the Council and that the Council worked closely with the police where there had been reports of unlicensed collections. There were regular social media posts in regards to bulk collections. There had been 9 reports of unlicensed collections in the previous 2 years.
As a supplementary question, Councillor Scott noted that the police were often the first point of call for residents when they saw an unlicensed collector. Did the police automatically liaise with the Council?
Councillor Overton confirmed that the Council and the police worked closely on this issue.
b) Councillor J Lavery asked the following question of Councillor R A Overton, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Community Safety & Customer Services:
‘Further to the recent Council announcement in respect of the £1.5million Safer Communities Fund, could the Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Community Safety & Customer Services confirm that it will be data driven and that the local representations made in Donnington has been agreed as part of the Safer Communities Fund?’
Councillor R A Overton stated that this funding meant that the Council, working in partnership with the Police and Crime Commissioner, could tackle the root causes of crime. The scheme would utilise data from the community safety partnership and Councillor Overton noted that each plan would be area specific. Based on the data that had already been gathered, Donnington was one of the areas that had been confirmed as part of the programme.
c) Councillor G C W Reynolds asked the following question of Councillor C Healy, Cabinet Member for Visitor Economy, Historic and Natural Environment and Climate Change:
‘It has recently been reported that global warming will reach 1.5 degrees, considered to be the threshold of no return, ten years earlier than previously projected. Whilst I recognise the work the council is doing to limit its own carbon footprint, that will have limited effect without national and international action. With that in mind, can the council take any action to ensure national government acts with more commitment and urgency on this hugely important issue?’
Councillor C Healy, Cabinet Member for Visitor Economy, Historic and Natural Environment and Climate Change stated that the Council was committed to reducing its carbon footprint and had made significant progress on this. An update would be provided to the Cabinet in March. There was much more that central government could do and highlighted a range of measures.
d) Councillor G Offland asked the following question of Councillor S Davies, Leader:
‘I am concerned to hear that the MP for Shrewsbury is again attacking Telford and Wrekin Council and continues with his campaign to downgrade of our Telford Hospital and to close the Women & Children’s Unit. Could the Leader give us an update on the Council’s current position on this?’
The Leader thanked all of the NHS staff who had worked so hard over the last 12 months. The Council’s position on this matter was clear; there should be not be a closure of the A&E in the fastest growing town in the country, which would leave Telford as the largest town without an A&E. The pandemic was an opportunity for a review to take place and the Leader called upon the Borough’s MPs to work with the Council to prevent the closure.
e) Councillor J Seymour asked the following question of Councillor S Davies, Leader:
‘When will Council employees that were redeployed to assist in the Covid-19 vaccination and testing programmes return to their normal duties?’
The Leader stated that the Council had trained and deployed 175 members of staff to work in testing sites across the Borough, from a diverse range of services. The Council would run these services until at least the end of June, in line with the government’s roadmap. Staff would then return to their normal roles and the Council would look to recruit local people on a fixed term for these facilities. In regards to the vaccine centre at the Telford International Centre, a number of Council officers were seconded as project managers to support the setting up of the site, however, moving forward, the vaccination centre would operate without Council resources.
As a supplementary question, Councillor Seymour asked how long the vaccination centre would stay open for.
The Leader advised that the centre would be open for as long as required by the Department of Health. He noted that there was still a huge amount of work to do, for example, providing second doses to residents and potential boosters.
f) Councillor N A Dugmore asked the following question of Councillor S Davies, Leader:
‘What are the production and postage costs of the recently announced ward newsletters?’
The Leader advised 44p per household.
Councillor Dugmore asked where this cost appeared in the Council budget.
The Leader advised that the cost of the newsletters would be made of out the existing budget. In a recent residents survey, 90% of residents felt that the Council’s communication during Covid had been effective and the newsletters would be a way of keeping in touch with local residents.