Questions to CM for Streetscene and City Services

Questions at any time to the Cabinet Member for Streetscene and City Services

From June 2015

For questions before June 2015 please contact democratic services at Newport City Council

Member Question: Councillor Fouweather

Subject: Street Lighting

I understand that the council are considering replacing street lights with LED lights. Although this will no doubt create a saving for the council there is also the issue of these lights providing significantly less light on the streets.  

The council took the decision to increase the free school transport from two miles to three. This has resulted in more children aged eleven and twelve now having to walk to school early in the morning and at dusk during the winter time. These children will now have less light from street lights making their journeys less safe.  

Can the cabinet member tell me whether this has been taken into consideration and will new risk assessments now be carried out noting the effect of less light on the journeys of these children?  

Many residents in Newport are concerned about crime and anti-social behaviour and will be justifiably worried that the LED lights will offer less of a deterrent and may make some parts of the city especially in areas such as lanes and country roads less safe. Has the cabinet member taken this into consideration and has consultation taken place with the police and other interested groups?  

Will the cabinet member confirm that there will be public consultation on this proposal before it is implemented.?   

Date received: 4 September 2015

Response: The LED lighting that is being proposed will actually give better colour rendition as the light source produces a pure white light giving the impression that it is brighter, as opposed to the more orange glow currently provided.  

To achieve further savings of energy when LED is introduced we are proposing to maintain the part night lighting arrangements which residents are now used to, and will further dim the remaining night lights via a remote controlling system between the hours of 22:00 and 06:00. The dimming will be regulated remotely and NCC will have full control over any level of reduction.  Existing lighting levels consequently can be maintained or reduced, if appropriate, at selected suitable locations following site specific appraisals.  

Therefore, peak hours (after 06:00 to dawn and from dusk to 22:00) will be fully lit and school children will not be affected in any way.  We anticipate that due to the white light effect they will actually feel the areas in which they are walking are lighter than previously.  

Risk assessments will be reviewed for any amendments to the current lighting provision as part of this scheme.  

A public consultation has not been not carried out as this is just an operational decision to switch the existing lighting columns to LED and improve brightness. 

 Date issued: 14 September 2015


Member Question: Councillor Kellaway

Subject: School Crossing Patrols

You will have seen the email exchanges regarding the axing of crossing safety person at Llanmartin primary school pre judging the scrutiny committee consideration.

Can you confirm that you will suspend the removal of the position until proper consultation and consideration has been carried out.

Hindsight is a wonderful thing the accident at the school gates some 12 months or so ago however give you the benefit of knowing two young men were seriously injured and were not the first to be hurt at this location. With this in mind I would ask for a suspension of this decision.

Date received: 11 September 2015

Response: The decision not to replace this particular school crossing patrol officer is an operational management decision, which has been properly taken in accordance with current practice.  Whenever an existing crossing patrol officer leaves, as in this case, then the officers carry out a detailed road safety risk assessment in accordance with national School Crossing Patrol guidelines to determine whether there is a need to replace that person. You have been advised that this particular location does not meet the necessary criteria and, therefore, there is no justification on road safety grounds to provide a replacement school patrol officer outside this school.  This decision is based on a technical safety assessment rather than the outcome of any consultation process. If you have any issues with the outcome of that assessment, then that is a matter that you will need to take up with the officers.  I have no power to intervene and suspend this operational decision.  

I have asked Scrutiny to undertake a detailed review of Council policy relating to the provision of school crossing patrols.  However, unless and until Scrutiny recommends anything different and a decision is taken to change this policy, then the officers can only take decisions in accordance with the current practice.  If the outcome of the Scrutiny review leads to any change in policy and this means that a crossing patrol would be justified outside this school, then the service would be re-introduced at that time.  This officer decision is not pre-judging the outcome of that review – it is applying current policy- but I would be pre-empting the outcome if I intervened and suspended this decision.  Therefore, I regret that I am unable to do so.

 Date issued: 14 September 2015


Member Question: Councillor Fouweather

Subject: Cleansing Staff

Q 1.  I have been told that you plan to make thirty of the cleansing staff redundant either through voluntary redundancies or compulsory if you cannot find the required number. Is this true? 

A 1.     Response from the CM for Streetscene & City Services

The Head of Service will undertake a review and restructure of the service is planned which includes a revised street cleansing provision across the city including a cleanliness based assessment.  The proposed changes also includes changes to working hours of operatives through the introduction of four-day (9.25hour) working day over a seven day week.  This proposal will only be introduced after full consultation with the workforce and the recognised trade unions and the changes are proposed to result in a reduction of 10FTE.  

Q 2.  This will have a huge impact on street cleaning and grass cutting. Are you confident that you can still keep the streets of Newport clean and  have adequate staff to cut the grass?  

A 2. Response from the CM for Streetscene & City Services

City centre programmed schedule of cleansing service will not change significantly from its current provision, however, the employee shifts and hours of work will be amended.  All other areas within the City boundary will be rescheduled based on experience and local knowledge of the current cleanliness standards.  The reductions in the workforce to achieve the financial savings mean we have to review all operational service delivery.  This is including use of more mechanised and modern processes that improve performance and avoid elements of manual work. Significant transformation reviews have been undertaken to ensure efficiency is maximised.  

Q 3.  In the past residents would have been able to pick up fallen leaves and place them in the orange lidded bin for collection. This was of help to the council. I note that there is a terrific amount of leaves on the floor across the city. Do you think it was wise to bring forward the date for the cessation of the orange bin collection?  

A 3.  Response from the CM for Streetscene & City Services

A decision was taken over a year ago to withdraw winter collections of the orange lidded bins (green waste) due to financial pressures and the need to reduce service delivery costs.  This year the implementation date was deferred and revised in order to cater for the scheduling of half-term and enable a collection following the known trend of increased green waste activity this time of year represents.  The Household Waste Recycling Centre at Docks Way continues to provide residents with a facility to dispose of their green waste throughout the year.  

Q 4. There are currently eight staff who have been allocated to the winter out of hours team. These staff can no longer work a day shift if they are called out at night. This will further deplete the number of staff who are available for other duties. What contingency plans do you have in place to make up this shortfall in staff numbers?  

A 4.  Response from the CM for Streetscene & City Services

Winter maintenance has been planned and delivered in this way for a number of years and the service area has to work flexibly in this regard whereby staff are given adequate rest periods complying to the working time directive.  In periods of peak demand and adverse weather the service area can engage a limited amount of resource of externally sourced personnel together with the redirection of its own resources to areas of greatest need.

Date received: 26 November 2015

Date issued: 4 December 2015

Member Question: Cllr M Kellaway

Subject: Garden Waste

Could you confirm if you intend to review the seasonal start and finish timings of the orange top bins.  It does seem they are finishing some 3 or 4 weeks earlier than practicable and residents then forced to place the garden waste cuttings etc in the general waste bins, which seems to defeat the purpose and cost the council money  

Date received: 19 January 2016


The Council has taken the decision to cease garden waste collections for the winter period; this was approved within the 2014/15 Medium Term Revenue Plan (MTRP) proposals.  Newport City Council will restart the green waste bin collections in March which will assist in achieving the overall recycling targets.  Previous experience and knowledge of the service has shown that the orange top bins are adequate for most residents to store this waste (often compressed) through the winter months until the collection service restarts in March.  Throughout the winter period garden waste can still be placed in the green bins to compost during the winter months and this will be picked when the service restarts the collections.  Those residents who have larger gardens and do not want to store the green waste over the winter months can take the waste to the Civic Amenity site on Docks Way, at no cost to the resident.  

The cessation date was chosen in order to afford residents the opportunity to carry out work through the school half-term holiday and still have the waste collected before the winter break.  Last year when this was implemented, the timing was felt to be considerate and reasonable.  There are no specific plans to review the dates of ceasing and restarting the green waste winter collections, however, the service continuously reviews feedback received in developing its future plans and strategy.


Date issued: 1 February 2016