Agenda and minutes

Economic Development, Environment and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel - Wednesday 20th January, 2021 10.30 am

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Susan Lightwing 

No. Item




In the absence of the Chair, the Vice Chair opened the meeting and welcomed Councillor S Walker, who had recently joined the Panel, as well as all who were present.  The Vice Chair placed on the record his thanks to Councillor L Garvey, who had recently resigned from the Panel, for his contributions to the Panel’s work.


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.


There were no declarations of interest received at this point in the meeting.


Minutes - Economic Development, Environment and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel - 16 December 2020 pdf icon PDF 24 KB


The minutes of the meeting of the Economic Development, Environment and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel held on 16 December 2020 were taken as read and approved as a correct record.


Middlesbrough Regeneration Post Covid-19 Scrutiny Review - Broadband

Representatives from CityFibre will be in attendance to give a presentation on the company’s business, plans for investment in Middlesbrough and post Covid-19 recovery.


Recommendation: Panel to determine whether further information is required.


CityFibre’s City Manager - Tyneside and Wearside, and his team, which included the City Manager - Tees Valley, Area Build Manager, City Build Manager and Regional Marketing Manager, were in attendance at the meeting and gave a presentation in relation to their company’s business, plans for investment in Middlesbrough and post Covid-19 recovery.


CityFibre was a competitive fibre builder, building brand new networks across sixty plus cities in the UK.  The overall investment for the project was £4 billion and aimed to reach 8 million homes within five years, which was approximately 30% of the UK.  Connecting all UK homes was the core ambition for all of the telecommunications networks.


CityFibre had been in the telecommunications sector for ten years and developed an ambition to build fibre networks.  CityFibre had worked with Sky and TalkTalk on a test project in York and then acquired a larger footprint across the UK.  The original aim was to roll out to 26 cities which had now increased to 60, including Middlesbrough.  The company was working with Government, not only focussing on city builds, but to understand how those city builds could be used as jump off points to connected broader rural infrastructure to fibre builds across the UK.


Networks were brand new and built from scratch.  The CityFibre team looked at all towns and cities and their existing infrastructure.  Their approach was to develop a well-planned network and install end-to-end fibre everywhere.  All the way from the exchanges to the individual premises would be full fibre.  As well as the opportunity to connect to every single premises or home, a well-planned network would also connect to all mobile sites, 5G, businesses or business parks, and any public sector sites across the town.


The investment in Middlesbrough was around £40 million and CityFibre was making some design changes to maximise its reach.  The initial target of 70 to 80 thousand homes had already been increased towards 90 thousand homes with expansion beyond Middlesbrough’s boundaries into Grangetown, South Bank and East Cleveland.  CityFibre had also worked with a company called Regeneris, who had provided data on the value of this long term investment to the town in terms of the impact on the economy in Middlesbrough over the next fifteen years.


In terms of consumers, about 92% of homes in the UK with a superfast broadband connection, would receive roughly 30 mbps upwards and this would be a hybrid solution.  The connection would have fibre at some point but also copper.  CityFibre’s broadband was full fibre, so by taking a network connection and working with one of their ISPs (Internet Service Providers), customers would receive speeds of up to 1000 mbps.  It was a synchronous solution providing the ability to upload and download at similar speeds.  One of the key differences was the quality of service and as more people came to rely on the digital structure this was vital.


CityFibre’s Middlesbrough build was due to launch in April and the first homes would be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/36


Flood Risk Management Update

The Public Rights of Way Officer will be in attendance to provide an update on Flood Risk Management.


Recommendation: Panel to determine whether further information is required.


The Public Rights of Way Officer gave an update on flood risk management.


Following major floods in 2007, the Pitt Report recommended that Local Authorities’ scrutiny committees should receive an annual summary of actions taken locally to manage flood risk. 


World weather patterns were changing and it was essential that authorities responded by planning ahead and increasing resilience to the changing demands of climate change.  Potential risks of climate change included wetter winters, hotter summers and rising sea levels.  Extreme weather events were likely to happen more frequently and with more intense isolated downpours during summer that could lead to more regular flooding.  There was therefore an increasing need for authorities and the public to adapt and prepare for these conditions.


Middlesbrough’s drainage system was extensive and complex in nature, comprising open and culverted watercourses and a surface water/combined sewerage system.  Parts of the highway drainage network dated back to the early 1900s and little was currently known about its capacity and condition and it was therefore uncertain how it would cope with increased rainfall.  Over the years there had been increased flooding from the highway drainage network due to reduced capacity within the road gullies and the drainage network.  Ground water levels were rising as a result of increased rain during the summer, thus reducing the ground’s capacity to take the increasing amount of rainfall in the winter and resulted in greater instance of surface water runoff. 


The Environment Agency (EA) had produced a map showing areas where it predicted surface water would collect in Middlesbrough when there was a one in one hundred year storm event. 


Flooding could come from a variety of sources including surface water run-off, ordinary watercourses and surcharging sewers.  Surface water flooding occurred when intense rainfall, often of short duration, was unable to permeate into the ground or enter the drainage systems quickly enough, resulting in ponding or overland flows.  This could cause considerable problems in urban areas such as Middlesbrough.  Middlesbrough was one of the worst areas affected by surface water flooding in the north east due to its urban nature and the presence of clay close to the surface.


The Council worked closely with Northumbrian Water (NWL) on Integrated Drainage Studies.  Middlesbrough had four or five drainage areas which were catchment areas where the water fell and was collected into specific drains.   The strategic studies highlighted and prioritised the areas of greatest risk from flooding within each of the catchment areas.  Stage 1 of a study focussed on the collection, collation, analysis and prioritisation of information to identify areas of high risk from flooding.  Stage 2 focussed on identifying opportunities within the top three or four high risk areas to reduce or prevent flooding.  The results of the studies provided all the information required to apply to the EA for funding for flood management schemes.


Currently there was one study in progress which was in Middlesbrough East.  Stage 1 was undertaken in 2018 and identified 10 flood risk areas.  Three of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20/37


Review of Pest Control - Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 166 KB

Recommendation: Panel approves Terms of Reference for the Review of Pest Control


The Vice Chair presented the draft Terms of Reference for the Panel’s review of Pest Control for comment.  The Chair and the Vice Chair had formed a Task and Finish Group to gather information from other Local Authorities which would be presented to the Panel at a later date. 


The Vice Chair asked Members to forward any evidence of requests or complaints from residents about pest issues, to assist in establishing the extent of the pest control problems in Middlesbrough as evidence for the scrutiny review. 


AGREED that the following Terms of Reference for the review of Pest Control were approved:


A)   To examine the Pest Control Services currently offered by Middlesbrough Council including the resources required to run the service and income achieved.

B)   To establish the range and cost of pest control services provided by other Tees Valley Councils and local private operators.

C)   To consider whether expanding Middlesbrough Council’s pest control services could provide an additional income stream to the Council.



Date of Next Meeting


The next meeting of the Economic Development, Environment and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel had been rescheduled and would be held on Tuesday 23 February 2021.




Overview and Scrutiny Board Update

The Chair will provide a verbal update on matters considered at the meetings of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 18 December 2020 and 14 January 2021.


The Vice Chair provided a verbal update on items considered at the Overview and Scrutiny Board meetings held on 18 December 2020 and 14 January 2021.



Any other urgent items which in the opinion of the Chair, may be considered


Teesside Crematorium – Final Report


The Panel’s Final Report on Teesside Crematorium had been approved by Executive at a meeting on 19 January 2021 and the service area had agreed to implement all four recommendations.