Agenda item

Agenda item

Questions from Councillors

To receive members’ questions under procedure rule no.11.  The procedure rule provides that any member may ask the Chairman of a board or group any question on any matter in relation to which the Council has powers or duties which affect the District, provided that three clear days’ notice in writing has been given to the Head of Legal and Support Services.


There were five questions asked which are set out below with the responses.  Each Member who asked a question was invited by the Chair to ask one supplementary question which is also set out together with the response.


Question from Councillor T Eynon


I am interested in understanding whether the Leicestershire Local Government Pension Scheme has any milestones and timelines set to monitor the progress of their engagement with fossil fuel companies to ensure that they reduce their fossil fuel production by at least half by 2030.

What criteria (if any) has this authority set to assess achievement of these milestones?’


Response from Councillor N J Rushton


Leicestershire County Council Pension Fund (the Fund) agreed a Net Zero Climate Strategy in March 2023 following extensive consultation with over 1700 scheme members and employers. The Strategy outlines the Fund’s approach to climate risk and opportunities. It also details it’s four-step engagement plan to engage with and challenge underlying companies and the Fund’s investment managers to achieve net zero by 2050, with an ambition for sooner.


The Fund doesn’t have specific targets for fossil fuel companies. However, it has nine targets which will aim to support real-world emissions reduction and alignment of companies towards net zero. One of these targets is to have 90% of assets in material sectors (such as fossil fuels, mining, and cement) classified as achieving net zero, aligned or aligning by 2030.  Every year the Fund will report against progress towards the targets set in the Net Zero Climate Strategy. The next report is due in December and will highlight progress towards the targets as agreed by the Local Pension Committee.


The Fund is also a part-owner of LGPS Central, the asset pool of which the Fund is a participating member. Central have a clear Net Zero Strategy which is based on emission-reduction and engagement targets from 2025 to 2050. As part of the strategy Central are committed to engage with the highest emitters within the portfolio that have not set credible net zero target, this includes sectors such as agriculture, electricity, and gas sectors.


LGPS Central has set out a number of milestones within its Net Zero Strategy including engagement targets. At individual engagement level they will also set up key performance indicators for each direct engagement on how companies holistically transition to net zero, this will likely involve changing production patterns.


The Fund considers engagement activity of partners such as LGPS Central, the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum and investment managers every quarter, like with Central these partners often lead and participate in engagement with fossil fuel companies, to support a just transition to net zero by 2050.


The Leicestershire Local Pension Committee has the responsibility for the management of the Leicestershire Pension Fund.  This fund covers staff of District Councils, Leicester City Council, Loughborough and De Montfort Universities as well as the County Council.  Membership consists of 5 County Councillors, 2 City Councillors, 2 District Councillor, 1 university representative, and 3 employee representatives. NWL does not have representation on the committee.


The County Council has established joint arrangements with eight Midlands-based Local Government Pension Funds (Leicestershire, Cheshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Worcestershire) to form the Local Government Pension Scheme Central Investment Pool. A joint committee has been established in accordance with section 102 of the Local Government Act 1972 to enable representatives from the eight authorities to meet, ask questions of the operator of the Investment Pool and challenge the performance of investments and investment managers.


Councillor T Eynon did not wish to put forward a supplementary question.


Question from Councillor J Geary


As a member of The Snibston Heritage Trust I understand that there is a headstock winding wheel currently being stored at the Snibston Mine site by the Leicestershire Museums Service on the understanding that this authority intends to find a use for it as a gateway marker for Coalville.

What progress has been made on this project?’


Response from Councillor R Blunt


NWLDC was fortunate to be offered a headstock winding wheel that we understand would otherwise have been disposed of by Leicestershire Museum services. The council is now investigating opportunities to re-locate the wheel in one of the existing or future projects that will be delivered under the Coalville Regeneration Framework, ensuring it remains part of Coalville’s heritage.’


Supplementary question and response


Councillor J Geary requested that the collection of the wheel be arranged for later in the week as it was impacting the storage facility at the centre.  Councillor R Blunt explained that this was not possible as it belonged to Leicestershire County Council, but he would discuss the matter further with officers to devise a plan to move forward.


Question from Councillor A Morley


‘On 17 November 2022, as part of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, the government announced an additional £1 billion of funding to help households with the cost of essentials. In England a further £842 million is being provided to extend the Household Support Fund by a further 12 months from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024. The additional funding will be used by local authorities to support vulnerable households. 


How has this funding been allocated in North West Leicestershire?’


Response from Councillor N J Rushton


The purpose of this grant is to provide support to households, who would otherwise struggle to buy food or pay essential utility bills or meet other essential living costs, to help them with significantly rising living costs.  The grant of £842m will be paid to upper tier and unitary authorities. 


Leicestershire County Council (LCC) were allocated a sum of £7.240m for the 2023-24 financial year.  The grant allocation is based on an authorities’ share of low-income households, which can be used to support those most in need within the scope of the grant determination. 


As a lower tier authority, NWL has not received a grant allocation. 

The local authorities who have received the grant funding are expected to work with delivery partners such as district councils, charitable or third-party organisations, to ensure that the fund reaches those who need it most. 

LCC stipulated that it would not accept direct applications from residents, they must come from a professional support worker or agency.  This included referrals from district and borough councils. 


During the period 1 April 2023 – 8 November 2023, the Council has made 1,119 referrals.  The costs of administering these referrals have been met from existing NWL budgets, despite a request to LCC utilise the grant funding to support administration costs.  


Supplementary question and response


Councillor A Morley was pleased to hear that there had been 1,119 referrals.  She asked how many of these referrals had been successful and what the total financial award for the district had been out of the £7.240m LCC grant allocation.  Councillor A Morley also hoped that as the scheme had been extended, that it was being promoted appropriately across the whole district.  Councillor N J Rushton explained that he did not have the financial details but would make sure a response would be provided outside of the meeting.


Question from Councillor G Rogers


I’ve been approached by a number of my constituents in relation to events occurring at Cattows Farm, Heather, which I understand is a venue licensed by the Council.


These events are causing chaos in the village with roads being grid locked in all directions. Apart from the massive inconvenience caused to local residents, in the event of an accident or an emergency it is unlikely that Ambulances, Fire Engines or Police would be able to get through or would at the very least be seriously delayed in attending.


Can the Portfolio Holder explain what he is intending to do in relation to the licensing of future events?


Response from Councillor M B Wyatt


‘I am aware that a broad range of events take place at Cattows Farm in Heather.


The majority of these events, such as the Halloween events, pumpkin picking and the Ashby Show can take place without a premises licence under the Licensing Act 2003. Traffic related issues at these non licensed events would be dealt with by the Highway Authority at Leicestershire County Council.


The fireworks event which took place on 4th and 5th November was licensed primarily because an element of the event contained live music and a number of bands.


The licence is a permanent licence which is subject to conditions and covers the sale/supply of alcohol as well as regulated entertainment for the tea rooms and restaurant. The licence also covers the farm’s larger events.


Where the licence is required, the event organiser is required to comply with the licence conditions relating to traffic management which involves devising a traffic management plan and submitting to Leicestershire County Council Highways and Leicestershire Police for their comment and agreement.


To date (8 November) the Council’s Licensing department has not received any complaints relating to traffic problems at the fireworks event from members of the public, however a district councillor and two parish councillors have made contact about these issues.


A debrief of the fireworks event will be scheduled by the Council’s Licensing team to both better understand the extent of the traffic issues and clarify the reasons for the problems as well as potential solutions if these are necessary.


Officers will encourage the event organiser / venue to arrange a consultation meeting with residents and Parishes where any issues can be discussed.


Supplementary question and response


Councillor G Rogers explained that the parking issues were becoming a major concern and asked for reassurance that the matter would be addressed.  Councillor M B Wyatt gave his reassurances that he would work with officers and the various agencies to try and resolve the matter.


Question from Councillor R Sutton


As the district in which the East Midlands Airport is located, this Council is not only the relevant Planning Authority but it has a vital role in ensuring that economic, employment and environmental development and regulation are optimised for residents, especially those living in adjoining parishes, and  in influencing the Airport’s own governance and statutory duties to be a good neighbour. Please supply full details of the Council’s representation and attendance at meetings of the Independent Consultative Committee of the Airport since 2019, a period that has covered increased night-time operation and vital consultations on the Noise Action Plan 2024-28 and the Future Airspace Programme to name but two important consultations.’


Response from Councillor K Merrie


Thank you for your question Councillor Sutton. I can confirm the following:


The Council appoints the Chair of Planning Committee to the Independent Consultative Committee, which meets 3 times a year. The Deputy Chair of Planning Committee is appointed as a substitute for the Chair.


Civic Year

Appointed Representative


2019 – 2020

Councillor Smith (Councillor Boam sub)

No attendance – There were no meetings between March 2020 and May 2020


2020 - 2021

Councillor Smith (Councillor Boam sub)

No attendance – There were no meetings between May 2020 – January 2021


2021 - 2022

Councillor Smith (Councillor Boam sub)


No attendance

2022 - 2023

Councillor Morris (Councillor Boam sub)


No attendance

2023 - 2024

Councillor Boam (Councillor Morris sub)

No attendance


Further information on the Independent Consultative Committee can be found here


Supplementary question and response


Councillor R Sutton felt that the lack of attendance was a ‘neglect of duty’ and that since there had been no subsequent update following the consideration of the airport masterplan by Cabinet in 2014, he take the seat rather than the Planning Committee Chair due to the urgency of the issue.  Councillor K Merrie confirmed that he had discussed the future meeting dates with the Planning Committee Chair and he would attend subject to no clashes with Council meetings.


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