Agenda item

Portfolio Holder Annual Report - Coast, Country and Environment


Cllr Geoff Jung, Portfolio Holder for Coast, Country and Environment presented his report and thanked the Countryside Team for their Annual Review, which had been circulated to all Councillors.  Questions and comments on the Portfolio Holder report included the following points:

·        Issues with staffing were starting to improve following the recent pay review.

·        A recent waste survey had shown that elderly households are most likely to recycle, with busy families the least likely.  Food waste continues to be a big issue, although a Devon wide survey showed that EDDC has a higher rate of food waste collection than other authorities.

·        It was noted that each service within the portfolio now has a workforce plan which includes succession planning.

·        Recycling of waste in public areas is mixed due to improper use by members of the public, resulting in most waste going to the Exeter incinerator.

·        There was discussion regarding types of flaps on recycling vehicles and it was noted that this is also a health and safety issue for operatives as well as a practical matter.

·        The lower Otter Estuary project is now being seen in a positive light, despite initial opposition, and is viewed as a good example of collaborative working across various organisations.

·        There was discussion regarding on-going concerns about beach pollution in Exmouth and continuing incidences of sewage discharges as a result of storm overflow.  It was noted that South West Water sewage treatment plants are at capacity.  SWW are trying to resolve issues at the Maer nature reserve which is managed by the Countryside team.

·        It was noted that the fitting of meters to storm overflow pipes is likely to give rise to more pollution alerts as information will be in real time and will result in more beach closures.

·        It was further noted that the new draft Local Plan included a new sewage treatment plant connected to the proposed new town, which could be viewed as preferable to additional housing in locations across the district with no new sewage treatment capacity.

·        Regarding the energy from waste incinerator, it was noted that constant air sampling is undertaken and that the operation is both efficient and clean.

·        Pest control in Council properties should be carried out immediately in order to avoid increasing problems.


The Director of Housing, Health and Environment advised the Committee that the Environmental Health team is aware of pollution incidents across the district and continues to hold South West Water to account.  The service plan includes a more proactive approach to enforcement.


The Committee thanked Cllr Jung for his report and for attending the meeting.




1.     That the Council encourages South West Water to bring the new sewage treatment plants and other infrastructure improvements into operation as soon as possible for the benefit of residents and that the Council takes proactive action wherever possible to protect its residents from the effects of pollution. 

2.     That the Council works with other authorities in the south west and involves the relevant MPs in support of its dialogue with South West Water to achieve improvements.

3.     That the Council, through its partners, ensures that food waste is reduced and recycled and that, if necessary, a campaign is introduced after the next election to educate and encourage residents.


The Committee agreed to request a report from MPs setting out their actions on requiring improvements from South West Water and that this be put on the Forward Plan for the new Committee following the election.

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