Agenda item - Public Involvement

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Agenda item

Public Involvement

To consider the following matters raised by members of the public:


(a)           Petitions: To receive any petitions presented by members of the public;


(b)           Written Questions: To receive any questions submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 17 January 2024;


(c)           Deputations: To receive any deputations submitted by the due date of 12 noon on the 17 January 2024.



b)       Public Questions


1)             DBS Checks


37.1      The questioner did not attend the meeting to put the question.


2)             Glyphosate


37.2      Steve Gelliot read the following question:


“The report on possible return to use of glyphosate contains insufficient science about the safety of this known carcinogen including links to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Any use of pesticides is well known to have a harmful impact on our biological diversity that also exists on our pavements and roads – not just our green spaces and parks. Can the Chair please offer more detail on how wildlife more broadly will be affected by these plans and reconsider the return to use of this harmful chemical?”


37.3      The Chair provided the following reply:


“Thank you for your question. Local authorities rely on guidance from national and international regulatory bodies when determining policy. Glyphosate is considered safe to use by the WHO, the EU and the UK Health & Safety Executive. Almost every local authority uses it to control weeds on pavements and roads.

One of the options for Committee to consider is the newer approach of a controlled-droplet application. This involves mixing the glyphosate with an oil that helps it stick to the weeds. This is a more targeted approach that limits the drift of a traditional ‘mist’ and uses less glyphosate, reducing the risk that it harms plants or wildlife that it’s not intended to come into contact with.

We are not proposing to use it in parks, on verges or any other green spaces. This will be targeted only at visible weeds on the pavement or road.

There are several large scale projects in the city where we are able to do focused work on biodiversity, such as Wildling Waterhall and the City Downland Estate Plan. It was great to have you involved at the recent Downland Advisory Panel meeting – for me personally, restoring wild chalk grassland and moving farming towards a more sustainable and regenerative future is one of the main reasons I wanted the role of Environment Chair.

These initiatives are helping to restore and protect significant local habitats. In more urban areas, the introduction of wilder verges and B Banks, as well as new Biodiversity New Gain guidelines for development, are allowing different animal and plant species to flourish in the city centre”.


37.4      Steve Gelliot asked the following supplementary question:


“Will you put more specific limits on how long you’re going to use it for and where you are going to target it?”


37.5      The Chair provided the following reply:


“We are in unchartered territory here because as far as we know, we are the only authority that has had a weed problem that has gone unchecked for so long. So, what we really is a reset to get the problem under control and then assess where problems are more persistent in different parts of the city. What we’re all united on is we want to use as little of this as we possibly can for all the reasons we’ve discussed today and also financial reasons. So, we’ll be looking to reduce levels to as minimum as possible and that’s a firm commitment from us”.


3)             Verges


37.6      Vanessa Barden read the following question:


“Will the council reconsider the current practice of allowing narrow grass verges adjacent to pavements in residential areas to go to seed? This is because this practice is considerably worsening weed growth in pavements. Mowing these verges before they go to seed would reduce the use of glyphosate therefore”.


37.7      The Chair provided the following reply:


“Creating a better habitat for wild flowers and insects is part of the council’s commitment to helping nature recovery. Nationally nearly half of the country’s wildflowers can be found on road verges and, with the shallow chalk soils in some parts of the city, ours can be particularly beautiful and diverse.

I appreciate that the spread of wildflowers from the verges is part of the problem with weeds on the pavements. We do mow around the perimeters of larger verges but on the narrower verges it is all or nothing.

We will be reviewing mowing regimes as part of a set of preventative steps we are exploring, but we want to do everything we can to protect biodiversity and would not want to lose these important habitats”.


c)       Deputations


1)             Patcham Flooding


37.8      The Committee considered a deputation outlining problems caused by flooding in Patcham.


37.9      The Chair provided the following response:


“Firstly, I absolutely agree with your opening comments. The situation in Patcham is neither normal nor acceptable and we have to find a solution.

The issue here, as I’m sure you know, is that these flood events are caused by the sewage system, which is the responsibility of Southern Water, becoming overloaded due to surface water entering the sewer.

The Council is the Lead Local Flood Authority and as such has the responsibilities to manage surface water and groundwater flooding. The Council does have strategies and plans relating to these types of flooding, but the solution ultimately will involve collaboration between Southern Water and the council. Whilst some collaboration clearly already takes place, my view is that we need to be working more closely to resolve this and other issues around the city.


The flood risk management team have approached Southern Water to meet and discuss opportunities to manage this issue. I personally am trying to forge a more productive relationship and more technical relationship with Southern Water and I know officers are keen to take that forward. These are shared problems – we all want to see an end to sewage being discharged into the sea and the risk of flooding in our communities across the city reduced, particularly in light of alarming changes in weather patterns and more regular extreme events.

We are working with Southern Water in mapping areas around the city which would be suitable for the construction of Sustainable Drainage Systems. These will assist in reducing the volume surface water entering the sewers, which in turn will reduce the risk of the sewers being overwhelmed and surcharging.

With respect to the Royal Mail site, the Lead Local Flood Authority as a statutory consultee could only review the evidence provided to support the planning application. As such a decision was made to recommend the application for approval subject to several conditions, as detailed in the planning response. One condition was that Southern Water needed to provide approval for the discharge into the sewer system.

Just as an aside, I think the last time we spoke- there is incredible expertise in your community. I know because I’ve sat around the table and heard lots of technical things that went way over my head so we took it forward and were trying to get you and your group of residents and council officers to really look at this again. I don’t know if that has happened by if it hasn’t, then we should pick it up and make sure it does happen as soon as possible”.


37.10   Resolved- That the Committee note the deputation.

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