Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities) - Thursday, 25th March, 2021 10.30 am

Venue: Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

Contact: Becky Atherton (0113 37 88642)  Email: becky.atherton@leeds.gov.uk

Link: to View Meeting Recording

Items
No. Item

91.

Appeals Against Refusal of Inspection of Documents

To consider any appeals in accordance with Procedure Rule 25* of the Access to Information Procedure Rules (in the event of an Appeal the press and public will be excluded).

 

(* In accordance with Procedure Rule 25, notice of an appeal must be received in writing by the Head of Governance Services at least 24 hours before the meeting).

Minutes:

There were no appeals.

 

92.

Exempt Information - Possible Exclusion of the Press and Public

1.  To highlight reports or appendices which officers have identified as containing exempt information, and where officers consider that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, for the reasons outlined in the report.

 

2.  To consider whether or not to accept the officers recommendation in respect of the above information.

 

3.  If so, to formally pass the following resolution:-

 

RESOLVED – That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following parts of the agenda designated as containing exempt information on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information, as follows:

 

No exempt items have been identified.

Minutes:

There was no exempt information.

 

93.

Late Items

 

To identify items which have been admitted to the agenda by the Chair for consideration.

 

(The special circumstances shall be specified in the minutes.)

Minutes:

There were no formal late items.

 

94.

Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

To disclose or draw attention to any disclosable pecuniary interests for the purposes of Section 31 of the Localism Act 2011 and paragraphs 13-16 of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests.

 

95.

Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitutes

To receive any apologies for absence and notification of substitutes.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received on behalf of Councillors A Blackburn and M Dobson.

 

 

96.

Minutes - 25 February 2021 pdf icon PDF 248 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 25 February 2021.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held 25th February 2021, be approved as an accurate record.

 

Matters Arising

 

Minute No. 87 – Private Sector Housing Update. It was noted that information regarding empty homes had been circulated. However, it was requested that additional information be provided based on new ward structures, and a breakdown of voids in each ward.

 

97.

Update on Fuel Poverty in Leeds pdf icon PDF 274 KB

To receive a report from the Sustainable Energy and Air Quality team, updating members on fuel poverty within Leeds.

The report provides a further overview of recent government policy announcements and their impact on the Leeds City Council’s work to tackle fuel poverty in the city.

 

Minutes:

Agenda Items 7 – Fuel Poverty in Leeds, 8 – Energy Efficiency in Council Housing Stock and 9 – Carbon Reduction in the Private Rented Sector, were considered together by the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities).

 

The reports of the Sustainable Energy and Air Quality Team and the Director of Resources and Housing, provided the Scrutiny Board with an update on fuel poverty within Leeds, and an overview of recent government policy announcements and their impact on the council’s work to tackle fuel poverty in the city. Progress to support the decarbonisation of council housing stock since February 2021 and information on current and pipeline energy projects, and future investment needs and carbon reduction in the private rented sector, and the Council approach to addressing carbon reduction as part of the Climate Emergency, in order to achieve the targets set by the Government to meet the 2050 target.

 

The following were in attendance for this item:

·  Councillor Coupar, Executive Member for Communities

·  Councillor Hayden, Executive Member for Climate Change, Transport and Sustainable Development

·  Councillor Scopes, Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Chair

·  Neil Evans, Director of Resources and Housing

·  George Munson, Senior Project Manager

·  Robert Curtis, Programme Officer

·  Nahim Rudi-Khan, Head of Strategy and Investment

·  Gerard Tinsdale, Chief Officer Housing

·  Mark Ireland, Head of Private Rented Sector

 

Officers in attendance, provided a PowerPoint presentation to the Scrutiny Board, covering the following matters:

Fuel Poverty

·  Statistics in Leeds against the national average, showing a positive trend over the last 4 years. Significant impacts as a result of COVID-19 are yet to be identified;

·  An overview of the new UK Government Fuel Poverty Strategy, Sustainable Warmth: Protecting Vulnerable Households in England;

·  Estimated retrofit costs seeking to achieve net zero and make homes affordable (EPC ‘C’ or better);

·  The various funding opportunities available, such as the Green Homes Grant, Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and the potential follow up to GHG over the next 2 years;

·  The roles, requirements and implications, as a result of the new technical standard PAS2035.

 

Council Housing Stock

·  133m planned investment over 5 years to support decarbonisation of council housing stock and there is currently 31m on-site activity and the intention to maximise future funding opportunities to support the HRA;

·  The focus of renewable investment with replacing electric storage heating, with renewable energy in high rise blocks;

·  Case studies from residents highlighting the benefits of renewable installation;

·  Total carbon savings per annum per project;

·  Next steps in terms of the current unfunded need. It was reported that 32.5m was required to improve the lowest performing homes to a SAP C, and this can only be achieved based on affordability, practicality and/availability of current efficiency measures.

 

Private Rented Sector

·  Challenges and implications with over 50% of the PRS being in the pre-1919 stock, with most of the tenure being in inner city areas and owner/occupation;

·  The challenges facing the PRS with the move for minimum energy standards EPC C by 2030;

·  Financial implications of works for owners to meet standards and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 97.

98.

Energy Efficiency in Council Housing Stock pdf icon PDF 391 KB

To receive a report from Director of Resources and Housing updating members of the Board on progress to support the decarbonisation of council housing stock since February 2021.

 

The report also provides further information on current and pipeline energy projects, and future investment needs.

 

Minutes:

This item was considered alongside Agenda Item 7 – Fuel Poverty in Leeds and Agenda Item 9 – Carbon Reduction in the Private Rented Sector. Minute No. 97 refers.

 

99.

Carbon Reduction in the Private Rented Sector pdf icon PDF 173 KB

To receive a report from the Director of Resources and Housing detailing ongoing work to address carbon reduction in the private rented sector.

Minutes:

This item was considered alongside Agenda Item 7 – Fuel Poverty in Leeds and Agenda Item 8 – Energy Efficiency in Council Housing Stock.

 

 

100.

Work Schedule pdf icon PDF 240 KB

To consider the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for the 2020/21 municipal year, the draft schedule for 2021/22 and the final River Cleanliness inquiry report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Democratic Services set out the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for the remainder of the current municipal year. A draft work programme for the 2021/22 successor board, as well as the final River Cleanliness Report had also been appended to the submitted report, for the Board’s consideration.

 

Discussion focused on the final River Cleanliness Inquiry Report. Members were in agreement with the publication of the report and the Chair in particular, commended Helen Grey (Senior Scrutiny and Governance Support Officer) for all of her work and research on the report.

 

RESOLVED

a)  To consider the matters outlined in the submitted report and agreed the overall work schedule for the Board’s work for the remainder of the 2020/21 municipal year.

b)  To consider and agree the draft 2021/22 work schedule for the successor board as set out in Appendix 2.

c)  To consider the final River Cleanliness inquiry report and recommend its publication.

 

Chairs Closing Comments

The Chair thanked Members and Officers of the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing and Communities) for their support and work over the past year, with specific mention to Becky Atherton and Helen Grey. The Chair also thanked the Director of Resources and Housing for his contributions to the service, as well as Executive Members Councillor Coupar and Rafique.

 

The Char acknowledged this would be the last meeting Councillor P Gruen will attend before moving on to new endeavours, and wished him well in the future. It was also noted that it would be Councillor A Khan’s final Scrutiny Board meeting before becoming the Lord Mayor in the 2021/22 municipal year, and thanked him for his diligence and hard work on the Scrutiny Board. Both Councillors Gruen and Khan thanked the Board for their words, and the Chair for his support and success of the work carried out by the Scrutiny Board in recent years.

 

101.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

This first meeting of the 2021/22 municipal year is currently scheduled for 17 June 2021 at 10.30am. There will be a pre-meet for members at 10am.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – To note the date and time of the next meeting as 17th June 2021, at 10.30 am (there will be a pre-meet for members at 10 am)

 

(The meeting concluded at 12:00 pm)