The Council’s role
The Council has a role to provide a variety of services that help keep the environment in which people live, work and spend their spare time, clean, safe and in an attractive condition.
There are a number of activities that we are required to provide by law, for example; highways maintenance, waste disposal, graffiti removal, pest control, management of our biodiversity and nature reserves, our historic buildings and conservation areas and our parks and open spaces and cemeteries and crematoria services.
The level at which we are now providing environment related services has changed, however we want to continue to achieve:
- reliable refuse and recycling services,
- communities with clean neighbourhoods
- accessible green spaces for people to enjoy which also helps manage climate change
- reliable winter maintenance services to protect residents and visitors
- safe traffic and pedestrian carriageways
- improved transport links across Gateshead
- a better quality environment
The longer term vision for environmental services is detailed below.
- Partnership South Tyneside and Sunderland
- Increased income – Green waste, trade waste
- Potential Partnership with other local authorities
- Achieving More Together - Invest to save proposal to step up enforcement and prosecution on short term
- No longer maintain bowling greens or football pitches or achieve full cost recovery
- Different models for some parks
- Some front line Highways relocated from Construction Services
- Increased enforcement to ensure that environmental standards are maintained by all members of the community in commercial and private premises and on the highway
- An ability to repair highways in a timely manner to reduce the need for more costly intervention and insurance claims.
There are a number of services that generate income that is used for environment services. The Council could continue to provide these services in the future.
The Council will also be delivering Housing Repairs and Maintenance through a new delivery model working with a commercial partner. This will help with the long term sustainability of the stock with a shift to more planned maintenance rather than responsive repairs. It will also involve the service working more closely with others and in a more commercial and efficient way. It should also be noted that this element of the service is linked to the future options for the Council housing stock in order for this to achieve sustainability and meet the needs of tenants in the future.
Further potential savings may be released if a successful refinancing of the South Tyne and Wear Waste Management Partnership takes place.
Key actions to get to the destination
- Map out activities that the Council has a duty to undertake, understand needs and agree service standards
- Engagement on decision on reduce/remove subsidy to sports clubs and bowling clubs for maintenance on a phased basis with support to help them become self-sustaining
- Extend Garden Waste scheme and increase charges to generate income
- Identify approach to parks to reduce costs and generate income with options including greater community involvement
- Develop greater individual and community responsibility for the environment and waste making use of the Behavioural Change Team as well as Achieving More Together
- Explore new delivery models such as shared services where this is feasible and appropriate
- Opportunities to generate additional traded income e.g Trade Waste, Funeral Director Service to be developed
- Mobilisation plan for the delivery of Housing Repairs and Maintenance from April 2017
* These proposals formed part of last year’s budget consultation exercise