Report to Gipping Valley–January 2015

Energy from waste

There have been a few problems at the incinerator over Christmas- nothing that would put residents at risk but surprising in a technology the county administration presented as proven.  The staff managed all incidents safely and effectively and the root causes are being removed.  They were:

Failure of the electronic drive to the fan that sucks air through one of the waste burner lines may be the cause of odours local people have experienced on several occasions.

A failure of the supply transformer and its backup to a control cabinet caused shut down under manual control and a 2-day gap in operation.

The vacuum at end of the steam circuit could not be maintained due to a leak into the system and electricity production was compromised.  At this time a safety valve failed to re-close after venting steam.

In response to questioning at the last liaison meeting, SITA confirmed their belief in a zero defects approach to plant management.

Performance must improve.

CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy)

The moment I tried to explain CIL the government changed the rules!  There can now be no section 106 charge on less than 10 houses and that effects the calculations.  A CIL charge of £165 per square metre for developments of less than 10 houses in our area and £115 on larger sites is now proposed.  Sites of more than 10 will pay for affordable housing via s106 as well.

Mid Suffolk and Babergh Development Control Policies

Mid Suffolk and Babergh, are consulting with your parish councils and others on possible changes to the development control (planning) policies that have been in place since 1998.  The intention is to modernise, simplify and reduce the number of policies.  Planning should be quicker but still protect our Suffolk environment and our interests.

A revised site allocation map is proposing a strategic employment allocation at Whitton between the Old Norwich Road and the A14 but this is very tentative.

Waste Collection in Gt Blakenham and Bramford

People in parts of Gt Blakenham and Bramford tell me they have had repeated problems with the collection of waste bins.  I understand causes are:

  1. I) there have been some delays at the incinerator while SITA and the districts learn how to schedule arrivals to avoid queues forming. This has affected crews who need to tip more frequently
  2. II) There are sometimes issues with rounds due to the weights of waste they collect and numbers of properties they serve. This can lead to the collection schedule overrunning into the next day. Serco will relieve pressure by restructuring the rounds.

I will let you know when this will occur.

Grit

Chequers Rise in Gt Blakenham is very steep and there are problems when it freezes.  I have taken this up but the following reply is not what we want.

“I regret to advise that Chequers Rise will not be added to a Priority 2 gritting route.  Whilst I acknowledge the physical characteristics of the road make this desirable it is a situation that repeats itself at hundreds of sites across the county and there just are not enough resources to treat them all.

However, we do have a list of trouble spots which we can direct resources to once the Priority 1 and 2 routes are safe.  Chequers Rise is on the list of trouble spots.”

The local solution would be to provide grit bins and salt that residents can spread themselves.  Not an easy task if you are elderly but something I have offered to fund.

SCC Scrutiny

At scrutiny, we looked at the way the district and county councils cooperate to ensure developers fund the infrastructure made necessary by their schemes without compromising the developments.

We agreed a report should go to the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders’ Group in early 2015, setting out the key challenges and objectives in ensuring appropriate infrastructure is provided to support development.

We also recommended that the County and Districts:

Develop mechanisms to improve early pre-application collaboration across all Councils in Suffolk;

Ensure consistency of approach from pre-application phase to full application;

Improve dialogue with NHS England/Clinical Commissioning Groups about the need for NHS provision;

Ensure the needs of local communities are reflected in discussions about what type of infrastructure should be a priority.

This should bring improvements.

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