In accordance with Standing Order No.34 (9), the following public questions were submitted to the Board by email:
QUESTION 1 - Mr Millea – Minute No 30
Why was the temporary cremator allowed to run unattended overnight on Monday 31 January 2022 during gale force winds which could have resulted in catastrophic incident and what was the result of the incident investigation as my complaint re this has not yet been addressed by the Council.
The temporary crematory was not knowing left active during the night/early hours of Monday 31 January and Tuesday 1 February.
The fact that it was active was only discovered by Council staff at 07:30am on Tuesday 1 February when they arrived on site and discovered that the unit had not shut down correctly and was running in idle.
We have put measures in place to ensure that this does not happen again.
The cremator software has been updated so that it will automatically shut down after one hour of being in idle mode.
As a further safeguard, the gas is shut off at the end of each day.
When and on what date is the “temporary” cremator going to be removed, and if no firm date is available – why not It should be an agenda item on this committee meeting until the temp cremator is removed?
Why the temporary cremator is sited less than 50 metres from the local housing which is in breach of the Government regulations for siting and positioning of 182 metres minimum 17. The Cremation Act 1902 (Section 5) provides that no crematorium shall be constructed nearer to any dwelling house than 200 yards (182.880m)*, except with the consent in writing of the owner, lessee and occupier of such house, nor within 50 yards (45.720m) of any public highway, nor in the consecrated part of a burial ground.
The installation of the new replacement cremator is scheduled to take place in June 2022 and after it is installed and fully commissioned, we will be in a position to consider its removal.
Due to factors beyond our control, we are not currently in a position to advise how long the installation and commissioning period may be.
Arising from the discussion, it was agreed that an update report would be provided to the next Board meeting if the temporary cremator had not been removed.
QUESTION 2 – Mr Ferguson – Minute No 32
With reference to the Annual Road Traffic Collision and Casualty report, section 4.3 Halton's 2021 Programme.
I applaud the Council's efforts in working with Cheshire Police to improve the safety of pedestrians, particularly around schools. The 'Show you care, park elsewhere' scheme is especially welcomed.
However, as noted in the Halton 2000 Traffic Collisions Review, poor driver behaviour and the difficulty in educating drivers remains a serious concern.
The Halton Castle Ward includes 5 Primary schools, serving over 700 children. St Mary's Primary feels the need to install parking buddies to remind drivers to park safely, and Halton Castle Police regularly have to take enforcement action around St Mary's, The Brow and Bridgewater Park Primary Schools. Local residents close to Astmoor and St Augustine's Primary schools have also raised concerns to me about dangerous parking around those schools.
No home in Halton Castle is more than 10 minutes-walk from the nearest Primary school, and over a third of our residents do not have access to a car. This combined with the safety concerns noted earlier, indicate that Halton Castle would be the perfect place to use as a testing ground for School Streets.
The School Streets programme brings a collective approach to road safety around schools. It brings together the school, parents and children, local residents, the Police and the Local Authority, to develop practical and local solutions that reduce or eliminate road traffic around schools at the start and end of the day. As well as road safety benefits, headteachers report that children are much more alert and their learning experience improves when they walk, scoot or ride to school.
Will the Council consider implementing School Streets in Halton Castle, using this as a testing ground for the possible wider implementation across the Borough, if the benefits can be demonstrated?
Regarding the possibility of trialling a School Street initiative in the Halton Castle Ward.
Firstly, the possibility of installing a School Street at a Primary School in Halton was explored recently and was discounted for a number of reasons. Halton Borough Council, unlike the overwhelming majority of Local Authorities, does not operate Civil Parking Enforcement and we are totally reliant on Cheshire Police to undertake all enforcement action. As such, we do not operate residents’ only parking schemes anywhere in the Borough (Cheshire Police are unwilling to enforce these restrictions) and given that some form of residents’ permit is a requirement of any new Traffic Management Order, it is difficult to envisage how such a scheme could operate in Halton.
We are also constrained by a lack of resources and from a financial perspective, the use of rising bollards and ANPR cameras is not something we could fund from existing budgets. We also don’t have sufficient staff to deploy at School Street sites to install temporary signage and barriers. Likewise, the school where this type of initiative was explored indicated that they do not have enough staff available to put out and take in temporary traffic barriers, or space to store them. I imagine that this would be a similar picture at other schools.
Looking at the collision statistics for the five Primary Schools in Halton Castle, there have been no recorded injury collisions on the approach roads to four of the schools in the previous five years. There has been one recorded injury collision (a slight) on Kingshead Close, adjacent to Astmoor Primary School. This collision occurred in January 2017, at 12:49pm and not during the school run.