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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Merton Civic Centre, London Road, Morden SM4 5DX

Link: Watch the meeting recording here

No. Item


Apologies for absence


There were no apologies received



Declarations of pecuniary interest


There were no declarations of pecuniary interest.



Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 72 KB


The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed.


Waste, recycling and street cleaning: performance update pdf icon PDF 360 KB


At the invitation of the Chair, residents shared their experiences of the waste collection and street cleaning in the Merton borough.


Rudi Leoni: Transparency is needed. Merton have refused to publish the deductions and performance of Veolia. FOI exists to protect public funds. IT is still being used as an excuse. Deductions are still being negotiated. Missed collections are still being marked as complete.


Chris Larkman: Good news is streets are cleaner since the introduction of the wheelie bins. Bad news is the end of roads where there are flats, the rubbish is much worse.


Mark Gale: The system doesn’t work. In October road sweepers were halved. The Merton website for reporting issues crashes constantly and Veolia claim not to have received many reports. Surgical needles were left for four days in St Helier.


Mike Nash: We have had to pay someone privately to deal with weeds that are over a meter high. What happened to the weed killers, we used to have them? I have filmed the dust cart driving down the road and then turning straight back around and sent this to my Councillor.


James Leek: I have already circulated fifteen to council officers. Larger households have overflowing bins. The waste is getting better but the streets are bad. Need more humans with brooms. Drains are blocked. Online reporting systems need to be improved.


Michael Marks: Toilet breaks for staff aren’t adequate as crews often relieve themselves in the alleyway. Recycling boxes are too small. Bins are overflowing.


Tom Walsh: Sustainable Merton are looking forward to working with Merton. We employ fifty community champions. Last year we ran a plastic free Merton campaign. Subsequently a lot of companies changed their usage of single use plastics. Heading towards a zero waste society should be the Council’s goal. The Council should double their effort to lobby government to address this. And a ban on single use plastics should be part of the licence granted for public events.


Marie Davinson: Millions of pounds of resident money to implement the new wheelie bin system, yet there has been no improvement with regards to the amount of litter and fly tips left on our streets.

There are many issues: Fly tip hotspots need better monitoring, investigation and enforcement.

Leaves blocking drains, confusion over collection days which is not helped when old signs displaying the former collection day are left up in streets months after the change of day, Street bins are not being emptied frequently enough. It seems that the only time action is taken is when a resident or councillor speak directly with a Veolia manager. Are Merton Council's own procedures the blockage in the system?

Frequently the same problem has to be reported numerous times. Do Veolia even receive these reports? They certainly don’t appear to have access to location details from Merton’s SRQ numbers.


Dan Goode: Shocking fall in street cleanliness, Keep Britain Tidy stresses that a littered environment encourages more litter. Residents endlessly report waste, there is tacit support  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Diesel levy implementation pdf icon PDF 88 KB


Chris Lee, Director of Environment and Regeneration, summarised the report. There are no figures at present as this is the paper that triggers the evidence gathering. Broadly speaking the aims are policy objectives are fewer cars and fewer polluting cars. We intend to look at other Local Authorities and what they have done, what bringing in a new IT system would allow us to do, conduct desktop research, and ascertain whether our policies have had any impact on levels of diesel car ownership in comparison with the national change.


The chair invited questions from the Panel Members. 


A Panel member queried cashless parking and the impact it would have on elderly groups who prefer to put cash in a meter. Will any meters have card facilities? Ben Stephens, Head of Parking Services, replied that technology is changing rapidly and we are constantly looking at different offers. We are aware some residents prefer using cash and in the high usage areas we may keep some meters as cash parking.


A panel member proposed a recommendation that the terms of reference be extended. 


That the following reference be provided to Cabinet with regards to the Diesel Levy Implementation.

“The Panel recommends to Cabinet that they consider whether to extend/clarify the terms of reference for the diesel levy review and the review into emissions based charging in other councils to examine whether there is any evidence of the type of behavioral change that these schemes drive. I.e. there might not be a fall in overall applications for permits, but over time there might be a trend for permits e.g. for less polluting vehicles, even though overall permit numbers remain broadly the same”.




Air quality update pdf icon PDF 942 KB

Additional documents:


Chris Lee introduced the report.


A panel member asked whether the mini ULEZ would still be introduced as it is not featured in the report. Jason Andrews, Environmental Health Manager, explained that we are still in the process of scoping the report and we are committed to looking at it from April 2019.




The panel recommends that that the Air Quality Task Group returns in a year’s time.



Electric cars pdf icon PDF 63 KB


Paul McGarry, Head of futureMerton, introduced the report and explained this work is part of the Air Quality Task Groups’ action plan.


We are currently finalising the third Local Implementation Plan to deliver the Mayors Transport Strategy.

There are currently 70 publically available charging points across the borough. We will be rolling out another 31 next month. The charging points take 3-4 hours to fully charge a vehicle. TFL are also rolling out rapid charging points. These are more aimed at taxis as they charge in 20 minutes.


After hearing questions from the Panel, Paul McGarry clarified the following points;


·         When deciding on the siting of the charging points, we chose high profile locations to get residents more aware of the facility. We also obtained data from the DVLA which showed the west of the borough have more electric vehicles. Feedback about resident support also helps decide where to place charging points.


·         As part of the LIP3, we are investigating partnering up with an electric bike hire company but there is no date set for this as yet.


·         Vehicles can stay charging overnight, though there is a limit and Source London would notice if a car was parked for days.


The Chair thanked officers for attending


Performance Monitoring pdf icon PDF 107 KB

Additional documents:


Cllr Nick Mclean, performance monitoring lead for the Panel, made the following comments:


·         Housing needs - The service has seen a 62% increase in cases as a result of the Housing Reduction Act but there has been no negative impact on performance.

·         Library visitor figures (SP480) are below the target but numbers are up on last year.


Chris Lee highlighted the following items:

·         Regulatory services – On target

·         Score of 5 for parks quality management system. Quality of ID Verde parks maintenance.


A Panel member asked why CRP44 – Parking services is 1.6 million over target. Chris Lee clarified that it is only published on an annual basis and remains high due to drivers continuing to fail to comply with rules and regulations (stopping in yellow boxes, driving in bus lanes etc.).


A panel member requested clarification on SP067 Municipal - 5% of waste sent to landfill – where does the rest go? Chris Lee explained that the ash goes to landfill and the rest to the incinerator at Beddington Lane.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 116 KB


The Panel noted the remainder of the work plan for the rest of the municipal year.


Members were reminded that the opening of the Morden Leisure Centre will be on the 30th March 2019 if anyone would like to attend.



Highways and maintenance contract pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Additional documents:


Meeting was held as part two.


Gary Marshall, Infrastructure Manager, answered the Panel Members questions of clarification.