Agenda

South Hams Council - Thursday, 25th July, 2024 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Follaton House. View directions

Contact: Email: [email protected] 

Items
No. Item

1.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 226 KB

to approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 23 May 2024.

2.

Urgent Business

the Chairman to announce if any item not on the agenda should be considered on the basis that he considers it as a matter of urgency (any such item to be dealt with under ‘Business Brought forward by the Chairman’);

3.

Exempt Information

to consider whether the consideration of any item of business would be likely to disclose exempt information and if so the category of such exempt information;

4.

Declarations of Interest

In accordance with the Code of Conduct, Members are invited to declare any Disclosable Pecuniary Interests, Other Registerable Interests and Non-Registerable Interests including the nature and extent of such interests they may have in any items to be considered at this meeting;

5.

Business Brought Forward by the Chairman

to consider business (if any) brought forward by the Chairman;

6.

Public Question Time pdf icon PDF 82 KB

7.

Reports of Bodies

to receive and as may be necessary approve the minutes and recommendations of the under-mentioned Bodies:

 

* Indicates minutes containing recommendations to Council.

7a

Development Management Committee - 15 May 2024 pdf icon PDF 171 KB

7b

Licensing Committee - 16 May 2024 pdf icon PDF 95 KB

7c

Executive - 6 June 2024 pdf icon PDF 138 KB

7d

Development Management Committee - 20 June 2024 pdf icon PDF 164 KB

7e

Executive* - 18 July 2024

To follow

8.

Questions

to consider the following question(s) (if any)  received in accordance with Council Procedure Rules.

9.

Notice of Motion

to consider the following motion received  in accordance with Council Procedure Rules:

 

(a)    From Cllrs McKay and Bonham

 

“South West Water has not delivered the service that could be reasonably expected of it for many years. It was formed in 1989 some 35 years ago. Since that time it has paid out £4.5 billion in dividends and now has debts of £3.1 billion.

 

It has paid out £127 million in 2024 alone.

 

This is a company that:

 

1.     is rated by the Environment Agency’s Environmental Performance Assessment metric as being the worst in England;

 

2.     in May this year was fined a record £2.1 million as a result of charges brought by the Environment Agency. It was shown to be responsible for many hundreds of illegal discharges at seven sites across Cornwall and one in Plymouth over a six-year period;

 

3.     was responsible for at least 58,249 sewage overflows in 2023. On average 159.6 times a day. These lasted for 530,736 hours (That's 61.43 years!) - in 1,117 different locations across its service area;

 

4.     leaks over 20% of water delivered;

 

5.     has recently allowed its water supply to be polluted and cause a serious outbreak of cryptosporidium infections; and

 

6.     has not invested in the necessary infrastructure, yet puts forward schemes like the desalination plant in Cornwall, that would not be necessary if just 2% of leaks were fixed.

 

This litany of failure has also to be considered in the context of climate change and it is clear that South West Water has put us all in a very difficult position. It is one that cannot be allowed to continue.

 

By any measure South West Water is a poorly run company that has failed to balance the need to attract investment with providing a satisfactory service to its customers. It is this that has led OFWAT to have to approve a price rise.

 

Given such an appalling track record of poor performance, the CEO (Susan Davy) turned down a £237,000 bonus and diverted a further £298,000 pay bonus to the Watershare+ customer scheme. While this is laudable and needs to be recognised, it is hardly sufficient and the question remains why she and her board are still in post.

 

This Council therefore resolves to:

 

1.     Call on the government to recognise the guiding principle in all policy that clean water is a right and not a commodity;

 

2.     Call on the government to ban all bonuses and company dividend payments until such time as the Environment Agency’s Environmental Performance Assessment (EPA) metric is ‘good’ (4 stars);

 

3.     Call on the government to limit the time to no more than five years to reach an EPA of 4 stars after which it would take the company into ‘special measures’ with a view to the possible creation of a public benefit company or re-nationalisation;

 

4.     Call on South West Water to provide a detailed plan and timetable on how it intends to achieve an EPA of 4 stars and to  ...  view the full agenda text for item 9.