Agenda item

Environmental Services performance report Q1


RLeBrun took the report as read, first noting that the Covid report was incorrectly listed as an appendix, and confirmed that the missing KPIs would be circulated once they had been correctly taken from the system.


RLeBrun provided an overview of services, advising that a full service has been maintained despite driver shortages. Agency member induction training has been conducted and it has been agreed that agency staff will be brought in early at weekends for training to ensure they can begin work immediately. Scheduled collections took place on Good Friday, the Great Compost Giveaway was successful, and the service caught up well after the spring bank holiday. It was also noted that special village collections and electrical compliance testing and fire risk assessments have also been carried out, and an asbestos audit was also carried out at Tring depot. Training has been carried out for Clean Safe Green with 4 staff members now trained for the grab lorry, and a new grab lorry will be arriving to help address fly-tipping. Work has been ongoing with the splash park as well as ensuring that football fields are ready for the football season, and grass cutting has taken place.


The service has had a number of vacancies though work is ongoing to fill these, including working with summer temps and helping move them to permanent positions, and exploring other options to fill vacancies to ensure more sustainable succession planning.


On open spaces, trees and woodlands, work is being carried out to assess viability at Bunkers Park for future projects, including the Chilterns Beechwood project. The tree planting for the Queen's Jubilee was a success, and there has been good attendance at the Herts Tree Officer Forum for discussions around procurement around the tree maintenance service. Work is ongoing to expand the Wild Flower Map. On educational awareness, 10 tons of compost were given away for free to residents. 320 volunteers took part in the Great British Spring Clean, taking 219 bags of rubbish and 167 bags of recycling, and work is ongoing with Street Champions and friends groups. 4,000 packets of wildflower seeds have been given to residents as part of Biodiversity Day. 96 new Street Champions have registered and numbers continue to increase. 2 primary school talks have also been given to help encourage participation. On resourcing and administration, there have been 8,993 service requests, Clean Safe and Green has had 1,202, and there were 1,237 requests for sharp box collections.


Cllr Timmis congratulated RLeBrun on the positive report. On planning for the Chilterns Beechwood project, Cllr Timmis asked for clarification on this. ARobinson advised that there would be a report further on the agenda.


Cllr Timmis noted that they have seen a substantial increase in fly-tipping in recent weeks in her area, of which 2-3 have had official-looking plastic square bags and asked if this could be followed up further. RLeBrun agreed to follow this up with Cllr Timmis and asked that the councillor forward on the photographs she has. Cllr Sutton commented that she has also seen large plastic bags in Chambersbury Lane.


Cllr Sutton commented on tree planting, noting that additional trees were to be planted in the orchard in North End and queried if this was continuing. RLeBrun agreed to speak to Luke Johnson, the team leader for Trees and Woodlands, and respond to Cllr Sutton with further information.


Cllr Hearn commented on the missing fence and gate, noting that this has been an issue since the beginning of the year and asked when this would be resolved. RLeBrun agreed to chase this up and confirmed that he would also follow up on communication.


Cllr Beauchamp noted his appreciation for the Clean Safe and Green team's action to clear away the rubble. Cllr Beauchamp referred to the 2 benches removed from the church grounds and asked where they had been relocated to. RLeBrun stated that he was unsure where they had been put and that he would check this with Rob Cassidy. RLeBrun added that he would be attending a meeting to discuss the churchyard tomorrow.


Cllr Taylor remarked that there was little reference in the report to street cleaning and concerns raised by residents over a lack of it. RLeBrun acknowledged that they were behind on street cleaning due to awaiting replacement of equipment, and though he believes they have now caught up, he noted the concerns. Cllr Taylor confirmed that he would email RLeBrun with particular areas of concern and it was agreed he would follow up on this.


Cllr England noted the growth in new Street Champions, though following the Great British Tidy Up, only half a bag was collected on average by each person, and he asked if they know what percentage of new Street Champions become established and what percentage of litter the initiative is dealing with. RLeBrun confirmed that he would take the action and look to provide accurate information. On active Street Champions, RLeBrun advised that it depends on how many collect equipment and how many they then hear from on training. Cllr England commented that he is part of the Facebook group and that a high profile member, Mr Watts, who has been passionate about being a Street Champion and recently did his last litter collection and had noted that he was disillusioned about it. Cllr England stated that the Street Champions programme is an initiative that allows people to work with the council and requires communication. RLeBrun agreed, stating that there is interaction with them and they can potentially reach out to the member to better understand the issues.


Cllr England commented that he was uncomfortable with how numbers are presented and the focus on the more positive numbers, adding that they should discuss the reality of the situation as the focus should be getting value as well as ensuring people see the council working with others. Cllr Barratt responded that they always report the active figures and that these figures are available. Cllr Barratt added that they should be focusing on the positive aspects of Street Champions rather than any negatives.


Cllr Rogers commended RLeBrun's report, noting its brevity, focus and relevant information, and asked that more reports follow this example.


Cllr Rogers noted the previous invitation for councillors to visit Cupid Green and stated that he would like to attend. It was agreed that this should be picked up again to help councillors better understand the facility.


Cllr Riddick extended his thanks to the team at Cupid Green for their work on St Albans Hill. On litter-picking, Cllr Riddick noted that one of the team was mowing ahead of litter-picking, though otherwise he commended the work that took place. RLeBrun noted the work completed by the team and thanked the councillor for his comments.


Cllr Foster noted her thanks for the new playground in Canal Fields, stating it has been well received by residents, and thanked the team for keeping it clean. RLeBrun thanked the councillor for the feedback.


Cllr Foster queried where the re-wilding areas are in Berkhamsted. RLeBrun confirmed that he would check the specific sites and that he would also feedback on future plans to help manage expectations.


Cllr Foster commented on street cleaning, noting the issue of blocked drains and the issue posed by on-street parking. RLeBrun confirmed that they attempt to coordinate efforts with HCC and that on-street parking has been an issue across the borough, particularly following Covid. Work is ongoing to coordinate with HCC.


Cllr Foster noted requests from residents to replace trees and that the response from Luke Johnson's team was that there is a 7-year waiting list to assess sites for trees. RLeBrun confirmed that this is being addressed and that they have looked at this with the new Deputy Chief Executive, and they are looking at what services can be brought in-house to respond to issues sooner through having a more flexible service in conjunction with contracts that will be renewed next year.


Cllr Beauchamp asked RLeBrun to ask Simon for his plans on maintenance of the River Gade in Gadebridge park, noting that there is now a risk of flooding in the southern and northern ends of the park if action isn't taken soon. RLeBrun confirmed that this would be raised.


Cllr England commented that he had spoken to a Clean Safe and Green litter picker in his local park, who was upset that fresh graffiti had appeared on the Co-op, and he thanked the team for addressing this.


Cllr England asked if it was possible to recap on the roles that are affected by the LGV driver shortage. RLeBrun confirmed that the shortage has not affected them as they took action last year, though the issue was needing to pull drivers from other areas to empty bins, which then effects the work that Clean Safe and Green can do. RLeBrun advised that the issue has been resolved, though they are looking to build up a pool of drivers to avoid the issue in future, though Clean Safe and Green is not affected by a lack of drivers currently. The focus is on waste collection and what the impact will be if there are shortages.


Cllr England commented on the paved footways on housing land in several areas are overgrown and asked if this was being addressed. RLeBrun explained that there has been an issue between the agreement between Clean Safe and Green and housing contractors, though this is now back in place and there is a catch up on work across other areas. RLeBrun confirmed that Chris Connelly has a priority list of areas they are inspecting and will work on these and, going forward, they will ensure they are identifying areas better to keep them maintained. Cllr England reassured the officer that they were not looking to criticise people involved and that they recognise a good system is required for the borough. RLeBrun agreed, noting that the majority of success is a result of the people involved and that they are putting a framework in place to ensure the systems work so they can manage expectations and allow successes to be noted on a more regular basis.


Cllr Harden noted the collection of over 1,000 paid-for bulk collection per annum and that the end of the report refers to 449 bulky-item requests in Q1, and asked if they have already achieved 50% in Q1. RLeBrun confirmed this was correct, though they don't have a target on this and bulky-item collections tend to be seasonal so the number is expected to drop in Q2. Cllr Harden queried if the figures were normal for Q1, to which RLeBrun confirmed that they are.


Cllr Harden thanked the Committee for their interaction on the agenda point and the report was noted.


ACTION: Cllr Timmis to follow up fly-tipping issue with RLeBrun.


ACTION: RLeBrun to check on status of tree planting in the orchard in North End and report back to Cllr Sutton.


ACTION: RLeBrun to chase up missing fence and gate and report back to Cllr Hearn.


ACTION: RLeBrun to check where benches from the church are being stored or relocated to and report back to Cllr Beauchamp.


ACTION: Cllr Taylor to email RLeBrun about areas of concern regarding street cleaning to allow RLeBrun to follow this up further.


ACTION: RLeBrun to contact Mr Watts, if possible, regarding being a Street Champion and look to gain specific feedback.


ACTION: RLeBrun to check location of re-wilding sites in Berkhamsted and report back to Cllr Foster.


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