Agenda and minutes
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Declarations of Interest / Dispensation
At this point, Members are asked to declare:
· any personal interests not included on the Register of Interests
· any prejudicial interests or
· any disclosable pecuniary interests
which they may have in respect of business on this agenda.
The Chair announced at this point that a dispensation had been granted by the Chair of Joint Standards Committee, in consultation with the Monitoring Officer, to enable Members to take part in the meeting despite their participation in the vote at Full Council on 17 June 2019 on a motion to introduce a Pollinator Action Plan.
Members were then invited to declare any personal, disposable or pecuniary interests not included on their Register of Interests, which they might have in the business on the agenda. None were declared.
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It was reported that there had been 5 registrations to speak at the meeting under the Council’s Public Participation Scheme. All spoke in relation to Agenda Item 4 (the Called-in Item, supporting the calling-in.
Jenny Kent spoke against the Executive Member’s decisions, on the grounds that they did not take account of the council’s Pollinator Strategy nor its Climate Emergency declaration.
Nick Mole, of the Pesticide Action Network (PAN), offered the expert advice of PAN to help the council develop strategies to phase out the use of pesticides.
Robert Gordon, a campaigner for York Green Party, said that glyphosate was a threat to pollinators, plants and food production and the council should move to using it only in exceptional circumstances.
Geoff Beacon agreed with the comments of the previous speakers and advocated taxing the biggest polluters and helping to create green jobs in York.
June Tranmer highlighted the health implications of spraying alleys and streets in terraced areas and urged Members to look more carefully at other options such as hot foam.
To approve and sign the minutes of the last meeting, held on 6 December 2021.
The Chair drew attention to his comments at the last meeting, as recorded in the minutes under the heading ‘Opening Remarks’, and noted their continued relevance to the current meeting.
Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on 6 December 2021 be approved, and signed by the Chair as a correct record, subject to the insertion of the word ‘personally’ after ‘Councillor Wann’ in the second sentence under the heading ‘Opening Remarks’.
To consider the decisions made by the Executive Member for Environment and Climate Change on 12 January 2022 in relation to the above item, which have been called in by Councillors Baker, D Taylor, K Taylor, Vassie and Warters in accordance with the Council’s Constitution.
A cover report is attached setting out the reasons for the call-in and the remit and powers of the Customer & Corporate Services Scrutiny Management Committee (Calling-In) in relation to the call-in, together with the original report and relevant annexes, and the decisions of the Executive Member.
Members considered a report which set out the reasons for the call-in of the decisions made by Executive Member for Environment & Climate Change on 12 January 2022 in respect of Weed Treatment Options, along with the Committee’s remit and powers in relation to the call-in.
The decisions were contained in the extract from the relevant Decision Sheet at Annex A to the report. The original report to the Executive Member Decision Session was attached as Annex B, and written submissions later received from two of the Calling-in Members were attached as Annex C. The decisions had been called in by Cllrs Baker, D Taylor, K Taylor, Vassie and Warters for the following reasons:
a) That [the decisions] fail to demonstrate any commitment to the aims of the council’s adopted Pollinator Strategy, namely aim 2.3: ‘reduce the impact of pesticides on pollinators and other wildlife’;
b) The decisions of the Executive Member deliver no action whatsoever on reducing pesticide use until at least 2024, and possibly 2026, seven years after Full Council voted unanimously to call for action to protect pollinators and to reduce the use of pesticides;
c) The Decision Session report included no performance appraisal of the existing contract, or detailed options of alternatives to allow a meaningful comparison and confidence the local taxpayer is securing good value for money;
d) We believe that any weed control contract continuing the use of glyphosate must include annual glyphosate reduction targets (year on year for the period of the contract), including through reducing the number of sprays from the current 3 times a year to twice a year in the first year of any new contract;
e) City of York Council should be joining more than 80 other UK councils – including Hackney, Glastonbury, Doncaster, Brighton, Bristol, Guilford, Chichester, Folkstone, Chelmsford and Trafford – who’ve already committed to end pesticide use;
f) To recommend that if the council cannot find a contractor to agree to targets and changes of weed management that are consistent with the council’s Pollinator Strategy, such as the use of strimming, weed brushing, and thermal lances or other methods that reduce or eliminate pesticide use, that an option is considered to bring the weed control programme back in-house.”
Under the provisions of the council’s constitution and the requirements of Local Government Act 2000, the following options were available:
· A – not to refer the matter to Executive, in which case the original decision would be confirmed, or
· B - refer the matter to Executive with specific recommendations.
At the invitation of the Chair, each of the five Calling-In Members addressed the committee in turn, explaining the reasons for the call-in and their individual positions on the use of glyphosate, and then responding to questions from Members. The Executive Member for Environment & Climate Change then addressed the committee to explain the reasons behind her decisions and respond to Members’ questions. At this point, the Executive Member circulated a written ‘concessions offer’ intended to clarify and augment the original ... view the full minutes text for item 8.