Agenda and minutes

Virtual consultative meeting, Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 7th April, 2022 6.00 pm

Venue: Online via the Zoom app

Contact: Sarah Jenkins  01395 517406; email


No. Item


Public speaking

Information on public speaking is available online



The Chair welcomed Cllr Joe Whibley and Cllr Tony Woodward as new members of the Committee.


There were no members of the public registered to speak.


Minutes of the previous meeting held on 3 March 2022 and the Extraordinary meeting held on 17 March 2022 pdf icon PDF 250 KB

Additional documents:


The minutes of the meeting held on 3 March 2022 and the minutes of the Extraordinary meeting held on 17 March 2022 were received and accepted.


Declarations of interest

Guidance is available online to Councillors and co-opted members on making declarations of interest



There were no declarations of interest.


Matters of urgency

Information on matters of urgency is available online



There were no matters of urgency.


Confidential/exempt item(s)

To agree any items to be dealt with after the public (including the press) have been excluded. Thereare no itemswhich officersrecommendshould be dealtwithin thisway.



There were no confidential / exempt items.


Decisions made by Cabinet called in by Members for scrutiny in accordance with the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules

There are no items identified


There were no decisions made by Cabinet called in by Members for scrutiny.


Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 191 KB


The Chair noted that at the Extraordinary meeting held on 17 March 2022, the Committee had decided that it would like to invite South West Water (SWW) back for a series of meetings, with each meeting to have a particular topic, initially identified as planning, beach water and river water.


The purpose of this item on the Forward Plan was to continue the discussion started at the Extraordinary meeting on how best to progress future meetings with SWW.  The Chair acknowledged that some Members were disappointed that their questions had not been covered during the meeting but noted that the meeting had been to address the specific issue of sewage entering rivers and water courses.  Concerns regarding SWW were wider than that and the Forward Plan could set out a timetable to deal with those wider issues.  The Forward Plan published with the agenda papers suggested one way to proceed.


Discussion on this Forward Plan item included the following points:

·        Sewage discharge and agricultural run-off is an East Devon wide issue and a working group could be set up to co-ordinate a complete response.  A working group could include knowledgeable local residents, and, although EDDC is not the lead body on pollution, the Council could act as facilitator towards finding solutions.

·        The Exe Estuary is a protected area and there was concern whether sewage discharge is illegal, and if not illegal, whether there are any actions the Council can take.

·        Serious concerns had been raised at the Strategic Planning Committee regarding the River Axe catchment following the report from Natural England and the requirement for mitigation to offset pollution from both agriculture and development, which could have a potentially serious impact on the grant of planning permissions.  The question of future grey water discharge in the Axe Valley should be put to SWW.

·        The purpose of the discussion was to consider a way forward for meetings with SWW which could include monthly meetings on consecutive months with questions for SWW being submitted by Members two weeks in advance of meetings.  Rather than include a presentation, the meeting should be used to provide answers.  The SWW Group Chief Executive Officer, Susan Davey, should be specifically invited to attend one of the meetings.

·        Members were reminded of the Clean Sweep Programme from 1992, which started in Exmouth in 1997 and, despite significant investment, had not delivered a system fit for purpose due largely to continuing development in Exmouth.

·        It was important for on-going dialogue with SWW to be conducted in a respectful manner.  Members were made aware that issues, including those with anaerobic digesters, were being considered at a high level through Team Devon and that other bodies such as the Environment Agency (EA) were also involved. 

·        There was a need to separate out issues such as ‘policing’, which is the responsibility of the EA, from other inter-connected responsibilities.

·        Issues such as SWW not being a statutory consultee and concerns regarding the lack of beach water testing during the winter should also  ...  view the full minutes text for item 64.