Agenda item

Q2 Environmental Services Performance Report


CT presented the report, particularly noting the challenge of retaining drivers and that they have 90% of drivers choosing to stay.  CT confirmed that 4 loaders have now successfully trained as LGV drivers and that 8 environmental operatives are now being trained.  Recruitment for Clean, Safe and Green continues and is hoped to be complete in the next 3-4 weeks.  Preparations have commenced for seasons with 82 nameplates replaced and the grass cutting schedule completed for the year.  CT reported that they recently met with Hertfordshire County Council to assess the impact of ash dieback on the public highways with a view to renegotiate the contract, given that more is being spent on traffic management rather than tree maintenance.


The new Canal Fields park has been built and refurbished and the tender for the play area has been completed with a view to finish work by spring.  The Educational Awareness team have been out in the community and recently spent the day at Tree Hill to encourage residents to look at donating, selling or reusing items.  Caddies were delivered into schools with children encouraged to decorate them. 


CT reported that the local Vauxhall supplier has pulled out of supplying cage tippers and smaller vehicles and they have therefore moved to Ford, though the lead time for new vehicles has increased from 6-9 months to 12-24 months, which will mean maintenance of current vehicles is critical.


CT provided an overview of the resources and admin team, noting that 9,360 calls were received in the period, of which 560 were bulky item requests, 340 for fly tip reports, and that Clean, Safe and Green received a total of 1,483 requests, and 1,068 vehicles were manually weighed in. 


Cllr Wyatt-Lowe thanked CT and the team for their work during such a challenging period and noted that while she has received no complaints about the service, there are issues regarding lorries unable to access roads due to poor street parking.  CT acknowledged the issue, which has increased over recent years, and that they are looking at smaller vehicles to combat the problem.  CT added that stickers and hangers are used to inform residents that the road had to be missed.  In response to a further question from Cllr Wyatt-Lowe regarding the impact of longer lead times for vehicles, CT advised that he was unsure of the cost implications as no orders have been placed at the time of reporting though maintenance costs are likely to increase.


Cllr Timmis praised the report and commented on the positive impact of decreased grass cutting in encouraging rewilding.  In response to a question from Cllr Timmis regarding ash dieback, CT advised that the whole stock will be affected but they do not yet know the full extent of the issue.  Looking at tree management, CT stated that they have the budget to plant trees but not for maintenance, adding that a number of trees had not survived this year due to bad weather and vandalism.  Cllr Timmis suggested that the issue was down to trees being stored incorrectly, which CT refuted stating that he was unaware of any issues regarding their storage.


Cllr England commented on the vandalism of trees at Acre Field, noting that this is a cherished ski slope area and wondered if an alternative solution should be considered.  In response to a query from Cllr England regarding why all Street Champions have not picked up their equipment, Cllr Birnie suggested that a written reply be given.


Cllr Stevens asked if tree maintenance will be included in next year’s budget.  Cllr Birnie advised that the provision could be recommended if there was general concurrence amongst the committee.


Cllr Harden commented on the trees that have failed to survive and that this will need to be taken into consideration if planting more trees is an action in relation to achieving net zero.  Cllr Birnie suggested that this be included within the education programme.  Cllr Barret provided reassurance that tree planting is a concern for all and that issues are being taken on board. 


Cllr Birnie queried the item regarding Dundale Woods.  JD advised that this is a privately owned space that has a proposal for a small residential development on the condition the land was transferred to Dacorum Borough Council as an open space.  JD noted that they are currently working through legal issues on this.


It was noted the tree contract with the county for maintenance of trees is commercial and Cllr Birnie requested that negotiations ensure that the borough breaks even or makes a profit.


In noting the report, Members recommended to cabinet that sufficient budget be put in place next year for the maintenance of trees.

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