Environment Scrutiny Panel Minutes

Environment Scrutiny Panel Minutes

Monday 12 November 2012
1:30 p.m.
Spencer Room, Town Hall, Middlesbrough

Attendance Details

Kerr, (Chair), Brady, Clark, Cole, C Hobson.
S Binks, A Crawford and S Harker.
Apologies for absence:
were submitted on behalf of Councillors Davison and J McPartland
Declarations of interest:

There were no Declarations of Interest made by Members at this point in the meeting.

Item Number Item/Resolution

The Minutes of the Environment Scrutiny Panel meeting held on 22 October 2012 were submitted and approved as a correct record, subject to the following amendment:


Page 4, paragraph 6, line one, - replace "join" with "joint".


A six monthly update on Flood Risk Management, as previously requested by the Environment Scrutiny Panel, was provided by the Principal Engineer and a Team Leader from the Environment Agency.


Working in collaboration with partners and a specialist Consultant, a Surface Water Management Plan had been developed for Middlesbrough. The Plan followed the national framework guidance, to identify, assess, prioritise and determine solutions to deal with all sources of flood risk within the Local Lead Flood Authority (LLFA) area.


Middlesbrough Council, acting as the LLFA continued to develop the local Flood Risk Management Strategy (FRM Strategy) in line with national guidance. The Strategy would address risks from surface water runoff, groundwater and ordinary watercourses, and had to be completed by December 2015. Through the development of the Strategy, views and activity with other local bodies and communities would be co-ordinated through public consultation and scrutiny, and delivery planning.


The first part of the Strategy was underway and dealt with all risk management authorities, identifying who they were and what their responsibilities were. The second part was planning and funding and these had to include the community. Members suggested contacting all Councillors, Community Councils, Boro Becks and Angling Societies.


The Environment Agency had provided all the Tees Valley Councils with amended Catchment Flood Management Plans (CFMP) that assessed flood risks in each local authority area. This had resulted in revised priorities for actions and Middlesbrough continued working with the Consultants to examine cost effective solutions to identified risks in the three areas covering the Old River Tees, Middlesbrough Becks and Teesmouth and Ingleby Barwick catchments. The detailed actions from the CFMP were contained in Appendix 1 to the submitted report.


The duties and powers derived from the Flood and Water Management Act 2010 (FWMA), were being enacted in various stages. Since the last update to Panel, the Council had taken on responsibility for issuing flood defence consents and also for designating structures or environmental features that affected a flood or coastal erosion risk. Future enactments would include responsibility for sustainable drainage, national build standards and automatic adoption of new gravity foul sewers and lateral drains. However these areas were currently subject to the outcome of consultation exercises.


The Council was working with the Environment Agency to improve the water quality of Middlesbrough’s water bodies, including lakes and ponds. Some of this work would also assist in providing flood protection. However this work was only at the feasibility and design stage and would need capital funding in order to proceed. The Council was looking at three schemes which would assist in flood risk mitigation. One of the schemes was to deculvert a 300m length of a tributary of Ormesby Beck across Prissick Base in order to hold back the water from getting into Ormesby Beck. The water would go into a holding reservoir and be released at a slower rate.


Saltersgill and Claireville SuDs areas were identified in the Surface Water Management Plan. They would intercept overground surface water flow to slow the rate of water entering into the culvert and watercourse.

Working in collaboration with strategic flood risk management partners, the Council was reviewing local resilience by updating key policy documents including Flood Plans and Flood Warning Services.


The Environment Agency had recently completed a Tees Estuary 2D modelling exercise. The new model was run using the latest sea level data and enhanced software. The 2D model showed at what depth, speed and which location would flood first. The Environment Agency had suggested that the results would be useful for the Emergency Planning Unit. It would also assist LLFA’s in delivering Flood Risk Management. Screen printouts were attached at Appendix 2 to the submitted report.


The results from an Environment Agency Mapping Study on Middlesbrough Becks had been correlated. The study on Ormesby, Marton West and Newham becks plus associated tributaries was to update flow paths, velocity and depth of water of a predicted flood. The maps were attached at Appendix 3 to the submitted report.


Following on from the detailed surveys to ascertain the condition of most of the Council’s drainage and watercourse infrastructure, a programme of repairs had now started. Where possible, these were 'no dig' solutions, although there were a number of locations were excavations and inconvenience would be unavoidable.


Where flood protection works were identified, maintenance was required or other opportunities arose, it was anticipated that proposals would be linked into other projects and developments. This arrangement, where possible, enhanced the funding opportunities by diversifying the outcomes and benefits, and opening up funding opportunities from local, national and regional sources. By working with the Environment Agency and other partners, the Council would be able to maximise opportunities to provide enhanced floor protection.


Councillor C Hobson declared a non pecuniary interest at this point in the meeting as she was a member of "Friends of Fairy Dell".


Finally, the Environment Agency were promoting a Flood Awareness Month and the Council had been involved. As part of the community strand, the Council had asked its own staff to check their own flood risk on the Environment Agency’s website and if at risk, to let their communities know. The aim was to cause a snowball effect to improve flood awareness in the risk areas.


AGREED that the information provided be received and noted.


The Chair requested that the Panel note the content of the submitted report which provided an update on business conducted at the Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting held on 16 October 2012, namely:


  • Attendance of Executive Members at the Overview and Scrutiny Board.
  • Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Resources.
  • Executive Forward Work Programme.
  • Executive Feedback.
  • Removal of Asbestos - Erimus Housing.
  • Safeguarding Pressures.
  • Environment Service Standards - Final Report of the Environment Scrutiny Panel.
  • Development of Private Patient Units - Final Report of the Health Scrutiny Panel.
  • Consideration of Requests for Scrutiny Reviews.
  • Scrutiny Panel Progress Reports.
  • Report from the Audit and Governance Committee - Winter Maintenance.

It was highlighted that the Overview and Scrutiny Board had approved a request for the Environment Scrutiny Panel to examine the position regarding current fly tipping levels in the light of a request from a non-Executive Member for clarification of the position following the introduction of charges for junk jobs.


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