Serco bins enquiry meeting cancelled?
By Peter Dobbs
An extraordinary meeting of the DDDC Community and Environment committee will not be taking place on 5th January 2022 as planned
The minutes of the Full Council meeting of Derbyshire Dales District Council on 14th October 2021 record "That the review [into the Serco Contract] be completed by 31st December 2021 and reported to an Extraordinary meeting of Community and Environment Committee in January 2022.
It now appears that the meeting sceduled for Jan 5th has been cancelled with a footnote on the DDDC Meetings Calendar reading; "05/01/2022 - Community & Environment Committee - Cancelled due to lack of ready and substantive business."
We think the emphasis should very much be on the "ready" since there is much substantive that would seem in need of consideration.
Top of the list is the report on the 'bins crisis' that dominated Council business for much of last year. Clearly Recircle Consulting and Allen Graham (Circling Squares Ltd) had a tight timetable in producing a report by the end of 2021 but residents are surely owed an explanation if the prescribed deadline has not been met.
Also on the list should be the fact that there has been no 'ASR' report (Air Quality Status Report) for 2021 (this is the report that deals with 2020 data). These reports are due to be published in June each year and provide the only publicly accessible records of the levels of certain pollutants in the Dales.
On the same theme this committee is the only publicly accessible group that is overseeing the development of of an 'Air Quality Action Plan' (AQAP) to address the illegal levels of air pollution in parts of Ashbourne. At the last meeting of the C&E Committee the minutes record that "Councillor Garry Purdy be asked to write to Councillor Barry Lewis, leader of Derbyshire County Council, Councillor Kewal Singh Athwal, Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Highways Assets and Transport, and Chris Henning, Executive Director of Derbyshire County Council, in order to express the urgency of addressing the air quality situation in Ashbourne.
Since that occasion another meeting of the AQAP Steering Group has been postponed at the request of County Council members. So much for urgency!
No new date in January has been published to date. However in reply to an enquiry as to why the January 5th meeting had been cancelled, the Chair of the Community and Environment Committee said that "The intention remains that an extraordinary meeting of the Community and Environment will be held in January, the details of which will be published as soon as the arrangements are confirmed".
We will endeavour to update this article when those details are made public.