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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Room 235 (Councillors Meeting Room) - Guildhall, Swansea. View directions

Contact: Liz Jordan 01792 637314 

Items
No. Item

1.

Disclosure of Personal and Prejudicial Interests

Minutes:

No disclosures of interest were made.

2.

Letters from previous meeting pdf icon PDF 147 KB

a)    Convener’s letter to Cabinet Member (8 October 2018 meeting)

b)    Response from Cabinet Member (8 October 2018 meeting)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Letters from previous meeting on 8 October 2018 received and considered by the Working Group.

 

 

3.

Public Question Time

Questions must relate to matters on the Agenda and will be dealt with in a 10 minute period.

Minutes:

No members of the public were present at the meeting.

4.

Flood Risk Management Progress Report pdf icon PDF 169 KB

Councillor Mark Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environment and Infrastructure Management

Mike Sweeney, Principal Engineer

 

Minutes:

Mark Thomas, Cabinet Member for Environment and Infrastructure Management attended and went through the conclusions in the convener’s letter from the last meeting, updating on progress.  Mike Sweeney, Principal Engineer also attended and went through the briefing report.

 

Discussion points:

·       All new developments will have to have strategic planting and enhance biodiversity in future with the introduction of the new statutory duty requiring Sustainable urban Drainage Systems (SuDS).  The nature conservation team are aware that they will need to be involved in SuDS to give advice when applications are received.

·       Green Infrastructure projects are going to be undertaken by the Authority and Natural Resources Wales in partnership. One project is currently being consulted on which is for the city centre only.

·       CM to be provided with contact details for Sion Brackenbury to arrange to visit a nature based flood risk scheme in NPT.  When a visit is arranged working group members interested in attending. 

·       CM recently went to the opening of a flood defence scheme in Mawr and was very impressed.

·       Confirmed Authority cannot legislate on use of non-permeable materials in domestic gardens but the Authority could give advice.  The introduction of SuDS will require that any contractors or developers will have to manage run off in the future.  Permeable materials would achieve this, so it is likely they will be used by default anyway.

·       Approval has been given to the initial staffing structure to undertake the delivery of SuDS.  This is for 4 members of staff.  One senior engineer is in place, an assistant engineer and administrative support officer will be appointed shortly and a site inspector will be employed at a later date, when sites start to be developed.

·       Council’s Flood Advice pages on the website do not currently contain a section on ‘Help us prevent flooding’. We should be proactive to help prevent flooding in domestic properties.  It would be useful to have a link from the Flood Advice pages on the website to a ‘Prevention’ section, with wording like……..What can I do to minimise the effect of flooding in my own property/local area?....for example, planting of trees, use of permeable materials for drives/patios, retaining grassed areas in the garden. 

          This should be written in straightforward language that everyone can           understand.  

·       Also on the Flood Advice pages Swansea Council’s advice and guidance should appear first, followed by the contact information for NRW.

·       The Authority does not currently show live local flooding information on its webpages as a ‘live banner’ or advertise it on Twitter.  CM agreed to explore if this can be done and if not if we can have a link to third parties live information. 

·       Work is ongoing to establish existing maintenance regimes for water courses and gullies across the Authority. Highways, Parks and Housing do have maintenance regimes in place.  However some departments are unclear about the levels of flood risk to their assets and therefore the maintenance schedules that need to be assigned.  Approaches are not consistent across the Authority.  The department will continue to look into the development of a consistent approach.  However prevention is far better than cure. 

·       Under 2.2 (page 7) – reference to the new corporate wellbeing objective for the maintenance and enhancement of natural resources and biodiversity has been omitted.

·       Under 6.12 (page 12) – the report should say what is currently happening - that work is progressing, ward members have been contacted etc.

5.

Discussion and Conclusions

Councillors are asked to discuss conclusions arising from this session for inclusion in the Convener’s letter to the Cabinet Member:

 

a) What do you want to say about this issue to the Cabinet Member in the Convener’s letter (what are your conclusions arising from this session?)

 

b) Do you have any recommendations for the Cabinet Member arising from this session?

 

c) Are there any further issues you wish to highlight to the Scrutiny Programme Committee arising from this session?

 

 

Minutes:

The Working Group discussed progress and agreed the following conclusions and recommendations:

 

1.     We are pleased to hear the Authority is keen to visit other Authorities that have used nature based solutions to flood risk, to explore further the opportunities for Swansea. We will provide the appropriate contact details to enable a visit to be arranged to a scheme in Neath Port Talbot.  Working Group members are also interested in attending the visit and would like to be informed of the date once arranged.

2.     We are pleased with the update that 4 members of staff are being employed for the delivery of SuDS. We will want to monitor progress on the delivery of SuDS at future meetings

3.     We are interested to hear more about Green Infrastructure projects and would like to have an update on the project that is currently out to consultation at our next meeting.

4.     The Working Group feels the Authority needs to move away from a legislative basis to a more advisory role for flood risk management, for example, in respect of use of non-permeable materials.  We think this is a better way to engage the public and take best practice forward.

5.     We would like to see the Authority better promote prevention of flood risk and feel the Authority should look into having a link to a ‘Prevention’ section from the Flood Advice pages on the website.

6.     We feel the Authority should explore having ‘live’ information on local flooding on its website, or having it provided by a third party.

7.     The Working Group feels the information on the Flood Advice pages should be changed around so that Swansea Council advice and guidance appears first followed by contact details for NRW. 

8.     We would like to see the Authority explore ways to advertise the work that it has carried out to reduce flood risks locally, in order to get positive messages out.   Ward members can be used more to get messages out to the public by distributing this information in their wards.

9.     We would like an update at our next meeting on the Local Flood Risk Management plan and progress made.

10. We will recommend to Scrutiny Programme Committee that the LFRM Working Group meets on a twice-yearly basis in future in order to monitor progress, especially on delivery of SuDS, and more generally on delivery of nature based solutions to flood risk.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Letter to Cabinet Member (4 April 2019 meeting) pdf icon PDF 189 KB

Response from Cabinet Member (4 April 2019 meeting) pdf icon PDF 297 KB

 

Contacts:
© 2011 City and County of Swansea
Civic Centre, Oystermouth Road, Swansea. SA1 3SN. Tel: 01792 636000 Fax: 01792 636340