Motions on notice
This item has a time limit of 60 minutes.
The full text of motions received by the Head of Law and Governance in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11.17 by the deadline of 1.00pm on 13 July 2016 is below. Cross party motions are taken first then motions taken in turn from the Labour, Liberal Democrat, and Green groups in that order.
Substantive amendments to these motions must be sent by councillors to the Head of Law and Governance by no later than 1.00pm on Thursday 21 July 2016. The briefing note will list amendments submitted before its publication.
Council is asked to consider the following motions:
1. Following the Referendum this Council condemns the rise in hate crimes
(proposed by Councillor Price, seconded by Councillor Gant and supported by Councillor Simmons)
Cross party motion
Oxford City Council profoundly regrets the outcome of the referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union, and the way in which the tenor of the Leave campaign has stimulated a wave of hostility towards migrants and ethnic minorities. We are proud that Oxford voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU, reflecting the open, diverse and tolerant character of our city, and we are committed to retaining our strong international links and to work with our city and county partners to reduce the negative economic and social consequences of leaving the EU.
We are particularly concerned by the reported rise in racism, xenophobia and hate crimes since the referendum, and wish to place on record our condemnation of such crimes.
The Council will work with local partners to fight and prevent racism and xenophobia and wish to reassure everyone living in our city that they are valued members of our community.
As part of the renegotiation process with the EU, the Council will make the strongest representations to protect the existing status and rights of EU citizens currently living or working in the city and the county.
2. Local Transport Plan 4 (LTP4)
(proposed by Councillor Tanner, seconded by Councillor Curran)
Labour member motion
Oxford City Council welcomes the improvements made by Oxfordshire County Council to Local Transport Plan 4 (LTP4), including the greater emphasis on walking and cycling, clean air, support for a workplace parking levy in Oxford and the option of more residents’ parking schemes across the city.
However LTP4 is still not ambitious enough and offers too little too late. We consider that a unitary Oxford would be able to make the improvements needed more quickly and effectively. We also consider that the standard of road and pavement maintenance in Oxford is unacceptably poor.
The City Council calls on the County Council as highway authority, to improve cycling and pedestrian facilities, introduce a zero emission zone and to consult on a workplace parking levy for Oxford without delay.
The City Council also asks the County to review its spending priorities, and the areas of Oxfordshire where transport funding is spent, so that more money is available for road repairs and maintenance in the city.
3. Planning sustainability and the Green Belt (proposed by Councillor Goff, seconded by Councillor Fooks)
Liberal Democrat member motion
Council notes that when the Green Belt was instituted in the late 1950s it was intended to be permanent. Council recognises the current crisis in availability of housing, but also recognises that the purposes for which the Green Belt was invented have not gone away. Council accepts that people living near areas of Green Belt have legitimate concerns at any suggestion of part of it being lost.
Council will, in the development of the Local Plan and other planning policy, give due consideration to the following:
-Oxford's Green Belt should not be built on in a piecemeal fashion
-proper weight should be given to the findings of a comprehensive review supported by all local councils and other stakeholders, similar to the approach used successfully in Cambridge:
-proper scientific assessment will be made of the full natural capital value of the Green Belt including its biodiversity and the ecosystem services that it provides. This includes its value in terms of recreation and cultural services. A good example of this has been undertaken by Surrey County Council
-any building within the Green Belt will not only replace but actively enhance the biodiversity and natural capital provided by the area lost, by use of scientific techniques such as ecological risk assessment and biodiversity management plans working closely with relevant environmental NGOs.
-as applicant or planning authority, Council will only support buildings which meet the eco-village and low-carbon approach supported by Council at its meeting of 18 April 2016
-Council will only support projects which guarantee sustainable infrastructure such as bike lanes to and from the development as well as on it, will encourage scientifically-based and forward-looking approaches to sustainable transport such as smart traffic lights, and will not allow these to be delayed or over-ridden by other parties.
Links: Naturally richer: A Natural Capital Investment Strategy for Surrey
https://surreynaturepartnership.org.uk/ (follow the links to the report)
4. Banning Glyphosate in Oxford
(proposed by Councillor Brandt, seconded by Councillor Simmons)
Green member motion
This Council notes that there is growing evidence that glyphosate is a higher health risk than previously assumed, and that the World Health Organisation has recently upgraded glyphosate to ‘probably carcinogenic to humans’*.
It further notes that other local councils in Britain - Hammersmith & Fulham being the most recent - have already decided to ban the use of glyphosate and other chemicals from all their own operations. This is in the wake of large cities all over the world - such as Barcelona, Hamburg and Paris - who have already decided on a ban, and the Netherlands and Denmark, which have banned the use of glyphosate in urban areas.
In light of the known risk to human health, this Council resolves to ask the City Executive Board to follow the precautionary principle and:
1. Pledge to cut out the use of glyphosate completely from all its in-house operations (including in Parks, and Streetscene) within one year.
2. Consider the one year period until the ban takes effect as a testing period, during which the council will test non-chemical and mechanical alternatives to glyphosate. Banning glyphosate will not result in increased use of other chemical weed-killers.
3. Use the opportunity of the end of the current weed spraying contract in April 2017 to request the contractor ceases to use glyphosate, or find another local contractor who will abide by a glyphosate ban.
4. Grant an exception to the above ban regarding the control of Japanese knotweed, or other invasive species, where there are currently no effective mechanical techniques available. However, in this case glyphosate will only be stem-injected, rather than sprayed, to reduce its spread in the environment.
* “The IARC Working Group that conducted the evaluation considered the significant findings from the US EPA report and several more recent positive results in concluding that there is sufficient evidence of carcinogenicity in experimental animals. Glyphosate also caused DNA and chromosomal damage in human cells, although it gave negative results in tests using bacteria.”(International Agency for Cancer Research (IACR), WHO, Monograph Volume 112: evaluation of five organophosphate insecticides and herbicides, 20th May 2015. http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/iarcnews/pdf/MonographVolume112.pdf )
5. Scrapping of student grants and curbing of access to higher education for disadvantaged young people
(proposed by Councillor Hayes, seconded by Councillor Hollingsworth)
Labour member motion
This Council supports fair access and widening participation in higher education, and believes that these are important for making society more equal, in Oxford and across the country.
Accordingly, this Council notes with concern the Government’s plan to scrap maintenance grants for up to 500,000 of the poorest university students, including those attending our city’s universities.
This Council further notes that the poorest 40% of university students in England will graduate with an extra £12,500 for a three-year course, according to research by the Institute of Fiscal Studies.
This Council is concerned that scrapping grants risks putting many young people off applying to university, including many from disadvantaged backgrounds. A 2014 study by the Institute of Education has shown that a £1,000 rise in grants created a nearly 4% increase in participation.
This Council asks the Council Leader to write to Oxford’s Members of Parliament to express our dissatisfaction with the abolition of grants and make representations to the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Education about the impact of the loss of grants on students at our city’s universities, particularly those from poorer backgrounds.
6. Democratic mandate for national leader
(proposed by Councillor Landell-Mills, seconded by Councillor Wade)
Liberal Democrat member motion
Council agrees with the Liberal Democrats that "The notion that it should be left to Conservative members to handpick a new prime Minister for what in effect will be a new government pursuing new priorities is absurd...this debilitating cocktail of hubris, incompetence and dishonesty must be overcome....The new prime minister… should immediately publish a white paper setting out a full plan...[and] must then seek a democratic mandate for their plan in an early general election...importantly, the election must be held before any attempt is made to activate article 50"
7. The future electoral system in Oxfordshire
(proposed by Councillor Wolff, seconded by Councillor Simmons)
Green member motion
Council believes that:
1. in the light of possible forthcoming changes to the structures of local government in Oxfordshire, with the creation of one or more unitary authorities,
2. in the light of significant instability in the traditional political party demarcations in England brought to a head particularly by the EU referendum, and
3. considering the need for political stability in the wake of the subsequent Brexit vote and its uncertain consequences,
special attention should be paid to the electoral systems used in those structures.
Council believes that it should not be assumed that a 'first past the post' system is the most appropriate method of determining the will of the electorate in this region under new structures in the likely future political environment.
Council believes that the electoral system used in the new structures should balance:
1. the need for decisive governance with a mandate that commands wide respect and which serves the needs of the most vulnerable;
2. a personal relationship between elector and elected;
3. the need for councils more proportionately representative of the actual spread of political opinion, and therefore potentially more stable.
Council asks its senior officers, with the guidance of its Electoral Officer, to take practical proposals for a more proportional electoral system to the partnership of Districts which is currently drawing up a devolution plan to put to the Department for Communities and Local Government, and to urge that partnership to include those proposals in their joint bid.
Council had before it seven motions on notice submitted in accordance with the Council procedure rules and reached decisions on three motions as set out below.
Motions not taken
Four motions were not taken because the time allowed in the Council’s procedure rules had elapsed:
1. Banning Glyphosate in Oxford
2. Scrapping of student grants and curbing of access to higher education for disadvantaged young people
3. Democratic mandate for national leader
4. The future electoral system in Oxfordshire.