The Service Lead for Environmental Health and Car Parks provided clarification and response to questions from Councillors in relation to the service plan for the service for 2021/22. In presenting the service plan, he highlighted:
· Continued volume of work of the service;
· New work as a direct consequence of the pandemic, such as the wellbeing of the clinically extremely vulnerable in the District, the Council’s own staff wellbeing, and working with the NHS and Devon County Council on testing options and the vaccination programme;
· Fewer routine hygiene inspections, but a shift to assisting businesses to change their offer – for example, switching to a takeaway service in a safe and secure manner;
· 50% rise in neighbour complaints;
· Preparatory work on the climate emergency action plan;
· Poverty panel continued;
· The Car Park Task and Finish Forum would continue in forthcoming weeks, including consideration of a revised local parking permit for residents, and reviewing revenue from campervans.
The Portfolio Holder for Coast, Countryside and Environment gave his thanks to the team for their efforts during a difficult year, and was considering how their approach to dealing with the increase of anti-social behaviour could be reviewed to help the team cope.
Clarification and responses included:
· In working towards reducing the carbon footprint of the Council, virtual council meetings should continue;
· Additional staff resource had been put back into the Environmental Health team, within the existing budget, for the nuisance complaint workload;
· In response to a query on Council staff mental health, Members were informed of the safeguards in place, including frequent contact between managers and staff, and counselling availability;
· In response to concern about safety near electric fleet vehicles, Members were informed that the current electric vehicles in the fleet had a workaround for producing a noise to alert pedestrians; and that future leased vehicles would include an in-built tone for this purpose;
· In response to a query about the Maer Car Park, it was not envisaged as coming forward as a vaccination site, but may come online as an additional testing site. If that happens, there will be a lost revenue claim for compensation to the NHS, but it is likely that only part of the area will be used and therefore the impact on revenue may not be severe;
· There was no entitlement of the Council to receive car registration information from the DVLA to pass onto the police in respect of suspected visitors breaching the current lockdown rules;
· Local Action Groups continued to provide valuable work were possible, but due to the pandemic their momentum has lessened;
· Member appreciation of all the volunteer groups at the current time;
· Paying for car parking was changing, in that the paying by phone provider was now operational across the region, and the additional fee for using that service has been removed. The Car Parking TaFF would review the rates across the car parks in the District.
Recommended to Cabinet by the Overview Committee that the Service Plan 2021/22 for the Environmental Health and Car Parks Service be adopted.
Recommended to Cabinet by the Scrutiny Committee that the Service Plan 2021/22 for the Environmental Health and Car Parks Service be adopted.