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Lib Dems question Surrey County Council’s Conservative Cabinet

November 21, 2012 10:38 AM
Originally published by Surrey County Council Lib Dems

Liberal Democrats on Surrey County Council have tabled six questions to the meeting of Surrey County Council's Conservative Cabinet on 27 November 2012.

Subjects covered are: Eco Park company failure, Airports, Horley Fire Station, Cabinet and Senior Officers residential meeting costs, Adult Education in East Surrey, Residential in-house short breaks for under-10s

Eco Park company failure

Question from Ian Beardsmore (Sunbury Common and Ashford Common)

ian.beardsmore@btinternet.com

Tel: 01932 782031 Mob: 07791 581701

Ascot Environmental, the company responsible for the gasification plant at the Eco Park and the gasification plant in Dumfries cited by SITA as the model for the Eco Park went into administration on 18 May 2012 and has been wound up.

The report to Cabinet on 14 March 2011 "World Class Waste Solutions: Amendment to Waste Contract" stated:

6.1.6. The Council's technical advisors, Mott MacDonald have undertaken an assessment of the BOS Gasification technology and have advised that they can see no reasons, for the scale of the process, why the plant proposed for Charlton Lane should not be able to treat the waste, divert it from landfill and recover energy from it. They have however identified that, as this is a relatively new technology, further data and testing will be required before it is known whether the plant can meet the qualifying criteria for a renewables obligation certificate (ROC). This will not affect the operation of the plant and the financial effect has been taken into account in the financial assessment.

Is it not the case that the latest development with Ascot Environmental being wound up that the proposed gasification plant will no longer be built? What is the impact on the proposed timetable for construction of the Eco Park, if construction now takes place at all? What is the advice from DEFRA on the PFI credits received by Surrey County Council and future PFI credits with this latest development? What is the advice of Mott MacDonald on alternative gasification technology providers being found within budget and proposed timescales? What is the advice of Deloitte LLP, who are both the County Council's financial advisers on the project and the administrators of Ascot Environmental?

The Cabinet Member for Transport & Environment and, the Strategic Director Environment & Infrastructure, together with managers from the County Council and SITA recently visited the Energos gasification plant operated by Hafsland Miljo Energi AS in Sarpsborg, Norway, what were the findings of this visit?

Airports

Question from the Liberal Democrat Leader of the Opposition Hazel Watson (Dorking Hills)

hva.watson@btinternet.com

Tel: 01306 880120 Mob: 07881 417126

At the 16 October meeting of Full Council the following motion was passed:

That this council opposes any proposals out of line with existing county council policy to build additional runways at Heathrow and Gatwick airports or increase air traffic at other local airports.

Council agrees to write to the Secretary of State for Transport to express its view that while being pro economic growth the Surrey environment must be protected and to express support for the Government's approach in requesting Sir Howard Davies to assess options for managing airport capacity in the UK.

When was the letter referred to in the motion sent to the Secretary of State? Please could the Leader publish the content of that letter and any response received from the Secretary of State?

Horley Fire Station

Question from the Communities Spokesperson John Orrick (Caterham Hill)

johnorrick@hotmail.co.uk

Tel: 01883348098 Mob: 07801 975407

The Surrey Fire and Rescue Service Public Safety Plan 2011-2020 states:

"9.16 We will continue to liaise with our neighbouring Fire and Rescue Authorities about emergency response provision arrangements and their effect on Surrey. Specifically, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Authority have removed one of the two fire engines from Horley Fire station following their consultation. The agreement that we have with West Sussex for the provision of an emergency response to areas of Horley remains in place and we consider that we are able to provide an appropriate level of response to this area based upon the resources available from Surrey and West Sussex."

As a result of the SFRS Public Safety Plan cuts in the number of appliances at Lingfield and Cranleigh were made when it was known that West Sussex were reducing cover at Horley.

The proposed closure of Horley Fire Station poses a significant threat not only to residents of Horley, but also to residents of a large section of the southern area of Surrey stretching from Waverley Eastern Villages, through Mole Valley and Reigate & Banstead, to Tandridge as a reduced number of appliances will have a larger area to cover.

What action does the Cabinet Member propose to take to ensure that residents are kept safe and have no lowering of Surrey Fire and Rescue Service cover in those areas?

Cabinet and Senior Officers residential meeting costs

Question from the Liberal Democrat Leader of the Opposition Hazel Watson (Dorking Hills)

hva.watson@btinternet.com

Tel: 01306 880120 Mob: 07881 417126

On 5 - 6 November the Conservative Cabinet, together with senior officers of the Council, spent two days with an overnight stay at Farnham Castle on a residential Corporate Leadership Team meeting, at Surrey Council Taxpayers expense. Given the large amount of property the County Council owns, why could this not have been held in a Surrey owned building, with officers and members attending on a daily basis? What was the cost to Council Taxpayers of holding the event at Farnham Castle including accommodation, food, conference facilities and travel?

Adult Education in East Surrey

Question from the Liberal Democrat Leader of the Opposition Hazel Watson (Dorking Hills)

hva.watson@btinternet.com

Tel: 01306 880120 Mob: 07881 417126

Since the County Council entered into a contract with East Surrey College to run the adult education service in the eastern half of the county, which adult education centres have closed and what evidence is there that the adult education provision in the east of the county is equivalent to that provided in-house in the western side of the county in terms of quality and quantity of provision?

Residential in-house short breaks for under-10s

Question from the Liberal Democrat Leader of the Opposition Hazel Watson (Dorking Hills)

hva.watson@btinternet.com

Tel: 01306 880120 Mob: 07881 417126

The 2011 report "Reconfiguring in-house short breaks service provision for children with disabilities" stated:

  1. In 2010 a review of the three homes was undertaken using the following principles:

a) Residential provision should only be used for children assessed as having the greatest level of care needs

b) No child under 10 years of age should be accessing residential short break provision except in exceptional circumstances

What are "exceptional circumstances" and what is the difference between "exceptional circumstances" in (b) and "the greatest level of care needs" in (a)? At what meeting of Cabinet was the policy that "No child under 10 years of age should be accessing residential short break provision except in exceptional circumstances" agreed? Why is the policy that "no child under 10 years of age should be accessing residential short break provision except in exceptional circumstances" not included in the "Shorts Breaks Statement for parents and carers of disabled children and young people in Surrey, October 2012", the Council's duty statement under the Children & Young Person's Act 2008?