Agenda item

Chairman's Report


The Chairman provided an update to the Committee on the developments that had taken place within the Committee’s remit since the last meeting held on 21 September 2021.


The Chairman reported that it was pleasing to note that a recovery was underway within Active4Today, as it recovered from the challenges of the past 20 months.

The membership base was now at 80% of what was pre-Covid, after stubbornly staying about 30% down since the centres were able to re-open earlier that year.

In addition, Southwell Leisure Centre was now also being run by Acvtive4Today, after the transfer was completed on 1 October.   The Chairman commented that he was confident that the Council was on the road to recovery, even though the costs associated with running the centres continued to be higher into next year than they were pre-Covid.  He commented that when he was the portfolio holder for leisure and culture, he could remember the leisure centres costing around £1-million a year. Pre-Covid the costs were reduced to around £250,000 and that was where the Chairman wanted it to return to or lower, over the medium term. 


At the last Leisure and Environment Committee meeting, the Committee received an update on the National Waste and Resources Strategy, which was being wrapped up in the new Environment Bill.  When first published in December 2018, the National Waste and Resources Strategy proposed widespread changes to the recycling landscape, including standardised and separate kerbside collection of a range of materials.  The Environment Act was last week approved by Parliament, meaning the legislation was now law and ministers had the power to introduce a range of waste reforms.  However, the line from government was that DEFRA was still working on responses to a number of consultations on the changes, which remained live until next year.  As such, there wasn’t a detailed description about what the exact requirements would be or crucially how the new burdens would be funded.  As soon as information became available, colleagues would produce a report for committee consideration.


The Committee were informed of the significant growth that had happened in the garden recycling service since the service was brought back in house on 1 April 2020.

Due to some minor disruption at the height of the covid response, a decision was taken to offer the service at the discounted rate of £30 in 2021. That price was due to increase next year but given the growth in the service and the Council’s recycling rate as a result, a report had been requested to be brought to the January 2022 committee for Member consideration about future pricing.  At the September’s Leisure and Environment Committee meeting, a report on the Council’s Climate Strategy and Action Plan and the progress that had been made in delivering it was considered.  The Committee was also informed of the Council’s first two electric vehicles, which were being driven by the Community Protection team.  This small scale pilot would enable the Council to better understand the opportunities and challenges in operating electric vehicles, ahead of the phasing out of new, petrol and diesel powered vehicles from 2030.  In addition, a report would also be presented to the Council’s policy and finance committee in November, recommending the Council invested in a range of photovoltaic panels at a number of council assets, including the leisure centres in Newark, Southwell and Ollerton, which were amongst the Council’s principle sources of carbon emissions. 


It was reported that since the last meeting, the Council had also continued to make excellent progress in their work to make Newark and Sherwood cleaner.  At the start of November, the council and its partners undertook a Day of Action in Clipstone which was very well received by the community.  Over the course of the day, more than ten tonnes of waste and litter was removed.


It was further reported that Newark town centre had won an award from East Midlands in Bloom, which was the Highest Achievement Level for the area of the Wharf.  The Chairman thanked all involved with that project including the streetscene team.


At the last Committee it was agreed to enter into a one-year pilot with a waste enforcement company called WISE.  The company started work on Monday, 25 October 2001 and since that time they had issued 354 fixed penalty notices for littering and dog fouling as of Friday, 12 November 2021.