Agenda item - Formal Public Involvement

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Agenda item

Formal Public Involvement

          To consider the following:



(a) Petitions – to consider any petitions received by noon on 27 October 2021;


(b) Written Questions – to consider any written questions received by noon on 27 October 2021;


(c). Deputations – to consider any Deputations received including any received from full council.



19(a)  Petitions


19.1    There were none.


19(b)  Public Questions


19.2   It was noted that two sets of questions had been received set out below:


(a) Pollution Caused by Wood Burning Stoves - Question(s) received from Mr Chris Todd


“The WHO recently announced there are no safe levels for certain air pollutants as it lowered emission guidelines for PM2.5s and nitrogen dioxide, now far below UK legal limits. At the same time there has been a rise in people installing wood burning stoves for recreational purposes, increasing localised air pollution across the city. Given the impact on public health what plans are in hand to inform the public of the dangers of burning wood in the home (both for the household and neighbours), to urge people to minimise wood burning and where possible to stop doing it altogether?”


Chair’s Response:


19.3    The Chair gave the following response:


“Thank you for question. I do hope that the World Health Organisation’s recent announcement on guidelines for emissions has helped to highlight and heighten interest and awareness amongst the public of the potential effects that can occur as a result of woodburning in the home.

This matter has been raised on previous occasions at committee meetings and the council has put out messages in the past to alert people that this activity can be a nuisance to others and can have impacts on people’s health.  This took on an even more acute focus during the height of the pandemic, given the effects that it can have on people’s respiratory systems.

You have asked your question at a key time of the year, given the arrival of the Autumn and Winter periods and much lower temperatures.  During evening hours, wood burning can be a significant source of smoke that is a contributor to poor air quality and I will therefore ask officers to work together to develop and promote some appropriate messages to highlight the health dangers and environmental effects of woodburning.”

We are also looking forward to a presentation on air quality later on the agenda, which will refer to some of the points in your question.  This is in advance of a forthcoming consultation on a new Air Quality Action Plan which will include reference to smoke control. In terms of whether enforcement action can be taken in instances where woodburners cause a nuisance, action can be taken with the right evidence in support - abatement notices can be served under the Environmental Protection Act. We would need more information on the specific nuisance on a case by case basis in order to give more detailed advice.


There are also Smoke Control Areas in the City, where you need to have an exempt appliance and use approved fuels.”


19.4    It was noted that Mr Todd had also given advance notice of a supplementary question:


19(b)  Encouragement for Householders to use Cleaner Fuels – Mr Chris Todd


“If there are no plans, why is this the case given that wood smoke is more toxic than cigarette smoke and the significant impact it can have on neighbours? Urging people to use cleaner fuels makes little difference, especially when so-called ‘eco’ stoves emit at least 465 times the particulate matter that a gas boiler does (per MWh). Wood burning is also fuelling climate change which has its own negative health impacts ?”


19.5    The Chair gave the following response:


“I hope that my previous answer reassures you that we will be preparing some publicity to get the right messages out to help address this important issue.  Any concerted campaign over a longer period of time would require officer time and dedicated funding within the council’s budget to develop and deliver it.”


19 (c ) Sussex Homeless Support for Plan to Build Social Homes - Mr Jim Deans


19.6    The following question had been received from Mr Jim Deans:


“Recent commissioned reports and guidance from government are showing the need for Social Housing, the lack of is featuring high as a cause of many physical and mental illness. Can the Health and Well-being Board support a plan to build Social Homes and reduce the burden on local services including the NHS?”


19.7    The Chair gave the following response:


“Thank you for your question.


The council is committed to providing additional affordable homes, both through our Corporate Plan and the Housing Committee Work Plan.  The council’s priority is delivery of additional council homes as well as other affordable homes, usually via Registered Providers (housing associations).


·       We have a total of 466 additional council homes projected for delivery for 2019 to 2023.  144 additional council homes were provided last year (2020/21).

·       We have a total of 1,100 additional affordable homes (usually via registered providers) projected for delivery between 2019 to 2023 (379 homes for rent and 721 for shared ownership).  48 additional affordable homes were delivered last year 2021/22.


Updates on progress with delivery of new council homes and other affordable homes are reported to resident Area Panels and Housing Committee on a quarterly basis.


We have also reported to Housing Committee on successful bids for Government funding for accommodation and support for rough sleepers, including significant expansion of Housing First homes offering accommodation and support to clients with multiple & complex needs. We have purchased 30 Housing First homes and have funding to purchase a further 30 homes for Housing Led Support. We also have funding for an additional 30 homes to be leased for a Rapid Re-Housing Scheme.


Your question mentions ‘a plan to build Social Homes’.


We are approached with many such initiatives and would suggest you share any business case with Housing colleagues in order that we can assess the commissioning needs the proposal seeks to meet, the funding arrangements, alignment to City Plan in terms of any proposed sites and the proposed management and support arrangements for any homes. The Housing Committee is responsible not the HWB for increasing the supply of affordable housing in the city, but as a key corporate priority it is a policy supported by all corporate decision-making bodies including the HWB.”


19.8    The Chair invited Mr Deans to put a Supplementary question if he had one.


19.9    Mr Deans asked if his question and the issues that he had raised be referred to Housing Committee with a statement in support from the Health and Wellbeing Board. Mr Deans asked that this matter be looked at in the round it was as much a matter of health and social welfare as well and was closely allied to availability to affordable and social housing, deficiencies could result in self-harm and significant mental health and physical health issues. He wished to highlight that this was now important than ever to the Health and Wellbeing Board. England needed 90,000 social homes a year to turn the tide, Brighton would be expected to supply 500plus Social or near Social homes a year, in the last 4 years it has provided 47 which was simply not good enough.


19.10  The Acting Chair, Councillor Nield stated that she noted Mr Deans’ comments and concerns and whilst she did not feel able to comment or make commitments outside the Board’s remit she asked Members whether they wished to note and receive the question and the response given and to forward it to the Housing Committee with their support.


19.6    RESOLVED – That the question and response to it be noted and received.


19.7    RESOLVED – That the Questions and responses given to them be noted and received.


19(c)  Deputations


19.8    There were none.

Supporting documents:


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