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Agenda item

Called-in Item: Draft Framework for York Low Emissions Strategy

To consider the decisions made by the Executive on 15 March 2011 in relation to the above item, which have been called in by Councillors Gunnell, Merrett and B Watsonin accordance with the provisions of the Council’s Constitution.  A cover report is attached setting out the reasons for the call-in and the remit and powers of the Scrutiny Management Committee (Calling In) in relation to the call-in procedure, together with the original report to and decisions of the Executive.

Minutes:

Members received a report which asked them to consider the decisions made by the Executive at their meeting on 15 March 2011 in relation to a report presenting a draft framework for the York Low Emission Strategy, to be taken forward for public consultation in 2011.

 

Details of the Executive’s decisions were attached as Annex A to the report and the original report to the Executive was attached as Annex B.  The decisions had been called in by Cllrs Gunnell, Merrett and B Watson, on the grounds that:

 

(The draft LES Framework)

  • is wholly inadequate given the number of premature deaths and ill health that worsening traffic related pollution is causing;
  • offers no clear target for when health-based limits are to be achieved;
  • provides no commentary on the effect of the different measures mentioned or on what impact the overall strategy will have;
  • contains no proper discussion nor makes any positive recommendations for potentially the most effective solution to the emissions problem of a Low Emission Zones (LEZ), as now used in London, Norwich, and 200 cities across Europe;
  • and leaves the Council vulnerable to potential significant EU fines should the UK Government's current legislative proposal to pass down any EU fines on the UK to individual local authorities covering areas failing to meet the EU legislative requirements.

 

Members were asked to decide whether to confirm the decisions (Option A) or to refer them back to the Executive for re-consideration (Option B).

 

Cllr Merrett addressed the Committee on behalf of the Calling-In Members.  He noted that the recommendations made by the SMC on 14 June 2011 following a previous call-in of proposals for a Low Emissions Strategy had not been followed and that the LES Framework did not examine in detail the crucial issue of Low Emission Zones (LEZs).  He asked that the matter be referred back to the Executive to ensure the production of an effective strategy within a reasonable time.

 

Officers responded to the points made, noting that York currently met all health-based objectives in respect of air quality.  The issue of most concern in the City was NO2,  the health effects of which were less clear cut than those of particulates.  Further information on current emissions was required before predicting future emissions and the best way to tackle them.  More research into the effectiveness of LEZs was also needed, hence the reason for including an LEZ feasibility study in the LES Framework.

 

After a full debate, Cllr Horton moved, and Cllr Simpson-Laing seconded, that Option B be approved and the matter referred back to the Executive for reconsideration, for the reasons outlined in the calling-in, with a recommendation that they give the matter more positive and detailed consideration.  This proposal was then put to the vote.  4 Members voted in favour and 4 against.  The Chair then used his casting vote in favour of the proposal and it was

 

RESOLVED: That Option B be approved and the matter referred back to the Executive for reconsideration, with a recommendation that they give the matter more positive and detailed consideration. 

 

REASON:      In accordance with the requirements of the Council’s Constitution and for the reasons outlined in the calling-in.

Supporting documents:

 

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