TAG BULLETIN No 26 JANUARY 2000
URBI ET ORBI
As the curtain raiser for this first Bulletin of the Millennium, where better to start than with a report from the chairman of the International Affairs Committee. this committee beavers away largely ignored (sadly) by the majority of TAG, demonstrating just how myopic we off-shore islanders really are.
The truth of the matter is that our real future in this 21st century depends on our integration and action in the world wide community. These little tribal difficulties such as Best value, PI, 3 C’s ,4 C’s and endless shuffling the cards in the establishments pack or whatever are “fiddling whilst Rome burns” set against the real issues for mankind.
Talk is cheap and there seems to be an abundance of it everywhere. Action seems to be a rarer commodity.
Involvement with our fellow professionals on the global scene must be the way forward.
Mike Westhead’s observations to his fellow committee members serve as a timely reminder.
INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
Future of TAG
A special meeting of TAG Council was held at Warwick University on 15 – 16 October 1999. There is a good summary of the meeting, written by Keith Feltham, in the last TAG Bulletin. It is clear that increased co-operation with other local government professional officer associations could prove particularly beneficial to a non-technical committee such as the International Affairs Committee which has struggled for members since it was launched.
There have been no changes to membership of the Committee since the last meeting. It is disappointing that a Secretary has not yet come forward.
( Anyone out there who feels they are up to meeting the challenge should contact Mike without delay. a positive start for the committee this year would be the appointment of a new secretary – Ed.)
(a) Association des Ingenieurs des Villes de France (AIVF)
There have been two meetings between the South East and South West Regions of TAG and the northern regions of the AIVF. On 17 – 18 September 1999 two TAG members and their wives attended the “Journees Regionales Normandie. Then, on 1 – 3 October 1999, the two TAG regions hosted two AIVF members and their wives at the Annual Residential Study Course run by the South West Municipals in Torquay.
There has been no contact at national level, so far as is known, but the Senior Vice President of TAG has reserved the dates of AIVF’s National Seminar which will be held in Strasbourg on 7 – 9 June 2000.
(b) Unione Nazionale Italiana Tecnici Enti Locale (UNITEL)
Antonio Bruzzi (a regular visitor to TAG’s President’s Seminar although he missed the 1999 Bolton event) is no longer President of UNITEL. In an e-mail to Jo Field, Antonio said “With my administration we set up a new company to manage the technic public services and I hope I will be the First Director “. We know no more except to say that Antonio says he needs to keep in touch with his friends in TAG.
In the meantime, Jo Field received a letter from Massimo Puricelli who is one of two Vice Presidents of UNITEL. The letter said We have just provided so transfer our national secretary but we haven’t found documents or protocols concerning the relationship between our associations. I would be grateful if you could send me documents to help us to understand what has been done till today and which is our engagement as far as our common workgroup is concerned ” The letter also said that the new national President of UNITEL is Gennaro di Bisceglie.
I responded to that letter on 15 October giving a potted history of ELATOA, a brief description of the two joint best practice studies and asking them to reserve the dates of 4 – 5 May 2000 for our President’s Seminar. No reply has been received.
(C) Other ELATOA Associations
There has been no communication with other ELATOA Associations since the last Committee meeting.
ELATOA Best Practice Guides
Malcolm Read has been forced, by pressure of work, to withdraw his offer to lead this project on behalf of TAG. All the details have been sent to the Chairman of the Transportation Committee (Keith Millington) and it is hoped that he can find a volunteer from his Committee
(b) Waste Management
This project was originally to have been led by AIVF but they were unable to find a volunteer. Antonio Bruzzi (UNITEL) then told us that he had offered the lead role to the German association. We have no records of or contacts with an equivalent organisation in Germany but, before we could query this with Antonio, he had ceased to be a member of UNITEL. There was no further progress until Jo Field paid his “presidential” visit to the Environment Committee.
As a result of this, details of the Rimini agreement and the agreed framework for the parallel Transportation Project have now been sent to the Secretary of the Environment Committee.
This could lead to a volunteer from that Committee and that would, in turn, perhaps lead to TAG taking the lead for this project as well as the Transportation.
Other Professional Officer Associations
At the last meeting, it was agreed that I should attend the seminar entitled “Eliminating Poverty Through Partnerships” organised by the Local Government International Bureau and Solace Enterprises Limited.
The most interesting presentation of the day was from Angela Griffin from the World Bank. Angela had previously been Chief Executive of Redditch Borough Council, Chief Executive of Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council and Chief Executive of Wellington City Council in New Zealand so she has an excellent knowledge of local government and of Solace. In her new post (since 1998) she is the Senior Adviser in the Urban Division at the World Bank in Washington. She is responsible for leading the delivery of one the four strategic objectives of the World Bank’s new Urban and
Local Government Strategy. The objective of the strategy is to work with World Bank staff and with national and local governments to enhance their capacity to respond to the increasingly complex problems of urban management caused by urbanisation, decentralisation and changes in private/public sector relationships in the delivery of services to urban communities.
It was clear from her presentation that she saw the pool of expertise within local government as an essential ingredient in meeting this objective.
Solace, through Solace Enterprises Limited, had, on the day before the seminar, made a presentation to the World Bank to explain formally what Solace had to offer. It remains to be seen whether or not Solace’s efforts will achieve anything but I have made clear to Solace that TAG would be happy to support any initiatives undertaken with the World Bank.
(b) Planning Officers Society
I have, through correspondence and e-mails, kept the Chairman of the European Issues Topic Group of the Planning Officers Society informed of the developments with Solace and the World Bank, described above, and he has indicated that POS, like TAG, would support Solace.
French Language Course
John Beck has now finalised the dates for next year’s course, 15 – 19 May 2000, which will be held at the Chamber of Commerce in Nantes. The course has been advertised in the TAG Bulletin and a further article will appear in the next issue.
The course fee is fixed as 11,000 francs for up to eight members or 13,000 francs for up to 12 members. Accommodation is only 80 francs a night and travel costs can be minimised by car sharing.
John has suggested that the Committee’s budget for the language course £1,500 or, say, 15,000 francs) be used to meet the course costs with the balance used to subsidise hospitality for ATVF colleagues during the course. This would leave TAG members to meet the cost of accommodation and travel. The advantage of such an arrangement is that the limit on numbers attending the course would increase from 6 to 12 persons.
At the present time 9 members have indicated their intention to sign up for the course The final decisions can be taken at the spring meeting.
European Local Government Directory
It should be possible to put this on the TAG web site now.
The next meeting of the Committee will be held at the offices of the Hemming Group at
32, Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SWIV 2SS at 10.00 a.m, on Friday 3 March 2000
( Note that this is a change from the date previously agreed)
BUSINESS EXCELLENCE CASE STUDY
Neil Bates and his colleagues in Nottingham have recently carried out a comprehensive review of their Business Improvement Matrix to meet the requirements of the new EFQM Excellence
Model and to address the four 4 ‘C’s of Best Value. This has also necessitated an update of the accompanying Indicative Evidence Model.
These two documents have been sent free of charge to the previous purchasers of the Nottingham Case Study. ( if you have not yet received the update from Neil, please contact him and any queries can be forwarded to Neil Bates on Nottingham 01159156500
TAKE YOUR PARTNERS
Partnership working requires a change of mind-set for many local authority officers. It is for this reason that the TAG OMP Committee chose it as the subject for their Millennium Message.
The new demands being placed on Councils to solve economic, social and environmental problems is placing a new emphasis on partnerships. It is not, however, easy to make partnerships work well as they often require “cultural” adjustments by all concerned.
There tends to be two distinct approaches to thinking about partnerships firstly, simply as formal legal / technical structures; and secondly, as cultural arrangements drawing on genuine trust and collaboration. The latter approach is required for real, lasting success reinforced by a number of important ingredients:
· The need for clear, shared objectives from the outset focusing on real needs rather than on funding programmes.
· Objective should be realistic and achievable.
· There should, if possible, be benefit for partners in terms of their own objectives and / or interests.
· There should be clear planning from the outset with all partners understanding their roles.
· There is a need to develop trust between all partners, building on genuine commitment from each organisation.
· It is important to invoke the interests of the whole of each organisation – not just a few individuals. Internal, departmental boundaries can be just as restrictive as those between partners.
· Work with individuals in key positions in each of the main partner organisations who are good at adopting a strategic, cross-agency viewpoint.
· Highly developed informal networks generally underpin successful formal partnership arrangements.
· Good (and open) communications between partner organisations are vital and ICT offer significant opportunities.
· Success breeds success and produces a positive view of partnership working for others to build on.
Reference – LGA Circular 708199 (28 October 1999), “Take Your Partners”
DOWNWARDLY MOBILE COMPOSTING
THE ANSWER TO THE LANDFILL DIRECTIVE
TAG environment committee heard Rob Pumfrey of ORRTEC (Organic and Resource recovery Technology) describe his company’s system for producing a soil conditioner from organic waste
The system is designed on a biological, rather than an engineering basis, it is simple and is a joint venture with the New Zealand developers of a vertical composting unit. The plant only requires a small “footprint” and very little energy to operate. The operating unit is sealed against vermin and insects and produces negligible odours, no residual waste and a pasteurised product. pathogens and weed seeds are rendered inactive.)
A successful trial plant was operated at Sydney Long Bay Jail and monitored by the Australian Environmental Protection Authority. The waste stream used included green waste, putrescibles, biosolids, paper, cardboard and animal wastes.
Basically, organic materials are shredded and blended with green waste to provide various qualities of soil conditioner in a continuous process. The cycle of operation varies between 7 and 28 days depending on both the quality of the source material and the output required. Operating temperatures of the plant are about 85c.
The raw material is fed into the top of the sealed chamber by auger and gradually descends as the process continues, with the finished product extracted from the lower levels of the plant
Although the product is not “proper” compost, it is used as a soil conditioner and can be used as inert landfill
Facts and Figures
· A plant to take 10,000 tonnes p.a. requires only 200 m 2
· A range of plant sizes can deal with 1000 to 28000 tonnes p.a.
· Running costs are between £1800 and £30,000 p.a.
· Relatively low capital costs.
· All types of organic waste can be processed including meat and food waste and sewage sludge
· At present the only installation in Britain is being constructed in Sheffield and is at the smaller end of the scale
The system looks interesting and is worthy of further of further consideration.
For information contact Rob Pumfrey of ORRTEC. Tel 01522 530530;
E Mail email@example.com.
29 November 1999
RECENT RELEASES FROM DETR
Research into Proposed Criteria Defining ‘Important’ Hedgerows has been published.
The Commission for Integrated Transport have published Advice on National Road Traffic Targets.
Genetically Modified Organisms and the Environment: Co-ordination of Government Policy – The Government’s Response to the Fifth Report of the Select Committee on Environmental Audit has been published.
The State of the Construction Industry Report – October 1999 has been posted.
Highways Economics Note No.1: 1998 has been released.
Information on Countryside Legislation has been updated.
The DETR Publications List for October 1999 and the Cumulated Annual
List have been posted.
Best Value Performance Plans: Practice and Procedures – A Review of
Early Experiences Within Eight Local Authorities has been published.
The New Deal for Communities: An Overview has been updated.
The Summary of Responses to the Consultation Paper on Rural England have been published.
The Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment (ACRE) have published the minutes of their sixtieth meeting.
The Government’s Response to the Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Committee’s Report on Tendered Bus Services has been published.
The Greening Government list of external links has been updated along with the Departmental Green Ministers.
TAG SEMINARS 1999
As Roy Fairclough gets into his stride as Seminar Manager, he is reviewing progress and both new directions for seminar material and location Whilst the two seminars in Bexley and Manchester both went very well -and the Durham one is also targeted to do well also, it is a matter of considerable concern that the seminar programmed for Bristol had to be cancelled For lack of interest???????????.
Given the immediacy of the Best Value topic, and Bristol’s apparently strategic location for members both in the Southwest and Wales one would have expected it to be top of the pops!
Roy would like to know what topics TAG members would like for future seminars and why??
Also what is a suitable location for a seminar say in each region –
Based on his experience in this first series of seminars Roy will be making recommendations to MAG for suitable changes – watch this space.
CIC INFORMATION NOTES
INFORMATION NOTE 534
SUSTAINABLE WATER RESOURCES FOR THE FUTURE: VALUES AND CHALLENGES
The Government has asked the Environment Agency to develop new strategies for the sustainable management of water resources in England and Wales. This is a consultation document for the Environment Agency’s ‘Water Resource Strategies’, to help develop an effective framework for water management.
The Environment Agency seeks our views on a number of important issues. The document is split into several sections, each raising a number of important questions from 13 key issues. This issues include:
What environment should we protect?
How should we respond to climate change?
Are customer restrictions an appropriate and effective way of saving water?
Should water resources be developed locally?
How far should leakage control be pursued?
Is our individual use of water sustainable?
The Environment Agency’s aim with regard to water resources is to protect the long-term future of the environment while encouraging sustainable social and economic development. There are difficult decisions to make on how water should be managed. Some decisions will be based on scientific and technical factors, but others must reflect the values of society.
Responses should be sent to: Giles Phillips, Environment Agency, PO Box 217, Patchway, Bristol, BS32 4XB and received no later than 31 January, 2000. Alternatively send responses via e-mail to: HYPERLINK mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Copies of the document can be obtained from the Environment Agency Publications office on 01454 624411.
INFORMATION NOTE 535
ENVIRONMENTAL PROFILES OF CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS AND COMPONENTS
The CIC Environment Committee is supporting a new Partners in Innovation project developed by the BRE’s ‘Centre for Sustainable Construction’. It aims to raise awareness within the construction industry through Environmental Profiles, of the benefits of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as a tool for achieving more sustainable construction. It also aims to help construction professionals deliver buildings with lower environmental impacts.
This work, sponsored by the DETR and industry, is allowing designers to demand reliable and comparable environmental information about competing building materials. It is also giving suppliers the opportunity to present credible environmental information about their products. BRE have produced:
The first industry agreed life cycle assessment methodology for construction materials:
An LCA methodology developed in collaboration with 24 materials industry representatives, which provides industry agreed methods of analysis of construction materials’ environmental impacts for the first time.
A Database of information on the Internet:
Profiles are held in the UK Database of Environmental Profiles of Construction Materials and Components, which are available on the Internet. Materials producers can add new Profiles for additional products at any time, and the database will be regularly updated.
The Environmental Profiles will also be used in a new software development, ENVEST, providing valuable information when used in conjunction with life costing information.
A Powerpoint LCA resource pack is available to allow in-house training on the issues.
For more information contact the Centre for Sustainable Construction on 01923 664307 or visit HYPERLINK http://www.bre.co.uk/envprofiles www.bre.co.uk/envprofiles and HYPERLINK http://www.bre.co.uk/envest www.bre.co.uk/envest
INFORMATION NOTE 536
HIGH HEDGES: POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS
‘High Hedges: Possible Solutions’, is a new consultation paper covering England and Wales. The problems caused by high boundary hedges have received a good deal of publicity, both through television and newspaper coverage. The document describes the action taken by Government so far and seeks views on whether there is more it should do. They intend for the main source of comments to stem from seven main questions. For example:
Do you think that the problems that can be caused by high hedges warrant further action by Government?
Should any new law on high hedges automatically lapse after a certain period, say 10 years?
The Government suggests four options as solutions to the problem of dealing with high hedges, referred to as:
· the generic solution
· the non-legislative approach
· the tailor-made approach
promote existing remedies such as mediation
These focus on the key aspects of the debate, such as easement of light, planning conditions, boundary treatments and so on.
CIC does not intend to make a response to this document unless comments are received from its members.
If you would like to respond the deadline is 31 January 2000, and should be sent to: Funmi Wood, Rural Development Division, DETR, Floor 3/C5, Eland House, Bressenden Place, London, SW 1E 5DU. Alternatively e-mail responses to: HYPERLINK mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Copies of the document can be obtained from: DETR Free Literature, PO Box 236, Wetherby, LS 23 7NB, on 0870 1226 236.
Note: CIC Information Notes are only available to Members, Associate Members and Information Subscribers of the Construction Industry Council.
Sustainable resource use
The construction industry consumes over 254 million tonnes of minerals over 0.5 million tonnes of plastics, 3.35 million tonnes of metals and 3 85 million tonnes of timber products As a major consumer of resources the industry ,has a crucial role to play in delivering sustainable development Evaluating current use of resources and developing more sustainable levels or consumption are important steps towards sustainability.
EU Directives and UK Government policy are likely to drive the construction industry forwards more sustainable resource use. Potential controls include the introduction of an Aggregates Tax and further increases in the landfill Tax. A range of guidance is now available to help industry members improve their performance in this area; some of the key initiatives are described below.
Environmental profiles of building materials
BRE has recently completed a three-year project to develop reliable information on the environmental impact of construction “materials The project worth 0 5 million ion, was funded by the DETR end 25 trades organisations representing a wide range of manufacturers of construction materials The aim of the protect was to create an agreed methodology for identifying and assessing the effects of building materials over their entire life cycle. from the extraction of raw materials, through their processing, construction use and maintenance, and their eventual demolition and disposal.
Profiles are assessed as raw inputs/outputs and by the resulting environmental impacts. They are calculated from cradle-to-grave for most building elements and in various unit quantities. Later this year it will also be possible to utilise this information In ENVEST, the computerised environmental impact estimation tool