Agenda item


To consider the following motions:


·  A Roadmap for Clean Streets in Southwark

·  Responding to the Afghan Refugee Crisis and Supporting Refugees and Asylum Seekers

·  Refusing Unsafe Building Developers

·  Youth Democracy

·  UNESCO World Heritage Status for Borough, Bankside and the Wider Area

·  Centenary Celebrations for Ada and Alfred Salter

·  Transport for London funding


Motion 1: A roadmap for clean streets for Southwark


This motion was considered after the guillotine having fallen.


There was one amendment to the motion.


Amendment B was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


The substantive motion was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


Note: This motion will be referred as a recommendation to the cabinet for consideration.


1.  Council assembly observes that:

a)  The UK has significant issues with rubbish. According to Greenpeace, the country produces more plastic waste per person than any other country bar the US. Official statistics revealed that the UK only recycled around 44% of waste in 2018, below the EU average. The German rate was 67%.


b)  Charity Keep Britain Tidy estimates that two million pieces of rubbish are dropped every day across the country. The street cleaning cost of this is £1bn annually. On average, 14 calls a day are made to the RSPCA regarding wildlife harmed by litter.


c)  Seven million tonnes of food and drink are thrown away each year, most of which could have been consumed. Experts say that food waste contributes 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions


d)  In an article earlier this year, the Sunday Mirror reported that fly-tipping in Britain has jumped by more than 500%. This has a large impact on the environment as damaged fridges and freezers let out ozone-harming gases.


2.  Council assembly notes that:


a)  Since 2010, the Labour administration has turned around a falling recycling rate, cleaned our streets and maintained a high rate of collection. The last set of formally published results were for 2019/20 when we achieved a 35.14% recycling rate. The recycling rate achieved was the best of the 13 inner London councils.


b)  Since Labour took control of the council, Southwark has had ambitious recycling targets and the council’s recycling rates are a huge improvement on the pitiful Liberal Democrat/Conservative record from pre-2010, when the council had the sixth worst recycling rate in the country.


c)  The council’s waste management team has taken significant steps to tackle fly tipping in the borough, including the setting up of a new fly tipping task force. Between April and September 2021, 98.6% of fly tipping incidents were cleared within 24 hours of reporting to the council’s waste management team.


d)  During the Covid-19 pandemic, there was significant staff absence from the waste management team, as staff were either unwell or isolating. Despite these significant challenges, and more latterly the impact of the HGV driver shortage, the full range of waste collection services have continued to be deployed throughout. The waste collections teams have worked hard under unprecedented conditions to ensure the mainstay of the collection services were kept operational.


e)  The waste management team has now recovered to its pre-pandemic level of performance and is delivering higher overall performance, with missed collections now at below 50 per 100,000, which is on target.


f)  Councillors across the borough are supporting fantastic initiatives to reduce litter on our streets and in our parks, including by working with organisations such as Plastic Free East Dulwich and Plastic Free Peckham and via the Empowering Communities Programme.


3.  Council assembly calls on the cabinet to:


a)  To continue to be ambitious for recycling in Southwark and maintain our place as one of the highest recycling rates in inner London


b)  When the new Environment bill becomes law, to utilise the new powers to further maximise the recycling rate.


c)  To investigate the use of new technology to improve waste collection and recycling rates, including recycling of food waste.


d)  To investigate new means of creatively reducing, collecting and disposing of food and garden waste including incentivising, supporting and encouraging an increase in home composting by residents across the borough.


e)  To improve accessibility and ease of use of Southwark’s reuse and recycling centre in order to make disposing of waste easier, specifically by making such adjustments with the purpose of making the centre more accessible for residents who are digitally excluded and those who do not have access to a car.


f)  To implement the plan to improve bin collection rates, including improvements to IT reporting systems, so residents are able to easily report missed bin collections, and more effective monitoring of problem areas to prevent repeat missed bin collections.


Motion 2: Responding to the Afghan Refugee Crisis and Supporting Refugees and Asylum Seekers



This motion was considered prior to the guillotine having fallen.


Councillor Dora Dixon-Fyle moved the motion. Councillor David Noakes seconded the motion.


There were no amendments to the motion.


Following debate (Councillors Alice Macdonald, William Houngbo), the motion was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


Note: This motion will be referred as a recommendation to the cabinet for consideration.


1.  Council assembly notes:


a)  Afghanistan has undergone a devastating and avoidable tragedy and continues to face a humanitarian and political crisis. Our thoughts are with all those forced to flee their homes, with the families and loved ones of those killed and wounded and those who are suffering in and still trying to escape Afghanistan - including the families of many Southwark residents. We continue to have particular concern for women and girls and for Afghan people who have supported the British civil and military authorities in their country in various ways.


b)  More than 15,000 Afghans were evacuated to the UK before  31 August. The majority of those refugees have since been placed in bridging hotels – 30 % have been placed in bridging hotels in London – including here in Southwark.


c)  London boroughs have been integral to providing wraparound support. Without the work of local government, thousands of Afghans would not have had their basic needs met and children would not be accessing play and education. It is equally clear that without local government, resettlement will be impossible.


d)  In the context of a decade of cuts to local government funding and drastic cuts imposed on our own budget in Southwark, it is imperative that government provides adequate funding to councils to support refugees and does not let the burden fall on already stretched local authorities.


e)  That beyond the recent Afghanistan crisis - London boroughs are already supporting thousands of asylum seekers in contingency hotels. This includes Southwark where there has been a lack of meaningful consultation and coordination with Southwark Council.


2.  Council assembly further notes that Southwark Council:


a)  Has a long and proud history of supporting people fleeing persecution overseas and is committed to becoming a Borough of Sanctuary.


b)  Has committed to welcome Afghan refugees to our borough under the new Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) and is in the process of identifying long-term accommodation. We are proud to have worked through London Councils to agree and sign up to the principle of all London boroughs providing long term homes.


c)  Had already committed to participate in the previous Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) and have resettled families through the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.


d)  Is already providing wraparound support to Afghan refugees placed by the Home Office in temporary hotel accommodation in our borough. We are working with local partners and Afghan community leaders to provide the appropriate support including mental health provision, English language lessons, co-ordinating school places for children, help registering with a GP and enabling access to our libraries and leisure centres.


3.  Council assembly thanks


a)  All the voluntary and community organisations and residents who have offered their support and donated time, money and energy to make refugees welcome. This includes Panjshir Aid, Community Southwark, the Southwark Day Centre for Asylum Seekers and Refugees, Little Village, the Red Cross, the Southwark Refugees and Communities forum and many more.


b)  Our local Members of Parliament - Neil Coyle, Harriet Harman and Helen Hayes and their staff for all their work to support Afghan refugees and their families.


4.  Council assembly calls on the British Government to:


a)  Provide greater clarity to Afghan refugees about their future in the UK and resolve delays in the process to match Afghan families with accommodation identified by local authorities. People are stuck in hotels - including here in Southwark - with no idea how long they will be there or a say over their future.


b)  Provide adequate resources to local authorities to support refugees in the short and the long term. This must include finalising the funding for the wraparound support in bridging hotels, and ensuring that local authorities are paid for supporting all bridging hotel residents, including British nationals.


c)  Provide British nationals with resettlement support aligned with ARAP and ACRS, and address concerns around homelessness applications.


d)  Ensure that boroughs are consulted on the processes involved in standing down bridging hotels.


e)  Work with local authorities to achieve a more equitable asylum system and end the hostile environment.


f)  Keep UK borders open to receive asylum seekers from Afghanistan and not deport any undocumented Afghans in accordance with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) non-return advisory. Immediately expand eligibility for family reunion enabling family members who have relatives in the UK to travel safely to join them and quickly decide all asylum claims from Afghans who have arrived in the UK independently, including reviewing previously refused claims.


g)  Abandon their damaging plans to introduce a two tier refugee system under the Nationality and Borders Bill. The government should treat each arrival in the UK based on their needs not how they got here and provide proper support to people in need of sanctuary. The UK must adhere to Article 31 of the Refugee Convention that prohibits penalties being imposed on Refugees who enter or are present in a country without authorisation.


5.  Council assembly calls on the cabinet to:


a)  Continue to support refugees and asylum seekers in Southwark.


b)  Call on the government to provide the resources required and to provide clarity on the status of and future of the resettlement scheme.


c)  Continue to work with London Councils to coordinate support and ensure that councils across London as well as the UK are all playing an equal part in responding to this international emergency.


d)  Continue to work with local organisations and community leaders to support refugees in our Borough and respond to their needs.


At the conclusion of the debate on the Motion, the meeting held a minute’s silence in memory of all those who lost their life in the channel tragedy earlier in the day.


Motion 3: Refusing Unsafe Building Developers


This motion was considered after the guillotine having fallen.


There was one amendment to the motion.


Amendment C was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


The substantive motion was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


Note: This motion will be referred as a recommendation to the cabinet for consideration.


1.  Council assembly notes:


a)  The significant financial and health impacts of the building safety crisis on thousands of Londoners.


b)  Although changes are being touted, support from central government for properties with dangerous cladding hasto date been wholly insufficient to deal with the building safety crisis.


c)  That the UK Government must do more to protect leaseholders in the building safety crisis and must ensure remediation work is completed as soon as possible on all affected properties.


2.  Council Assembly acknowledges that:


a)  The council has been lobbying for building safety reforms and an end to the cladding scandal for a number of years, including lobbying for increased funding for retrofitting social housing to comply with fire and building safety legislation in the 2021 Spending Review.


b)  The council is the largest landlord of high rise blocks in England with 170 residential buildings of 18m or higher. The safety of our residents is our absolute priority and a Building Safety programme is being implemented with a learning and discovery pilot taking place at Andoversford Court in Peckham.


c)  The council is working closely with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities and the London Fire Brigade to ensure that private landlords remove aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding from their blocks. We are also using our powers to serve enforcement notices on building owners where remediation actions are not taken.


d)  The council have been working closely with the Salmon Youth Centre in Bermondsey, supporting them in their successful application to the Building Safety Fund to remove cladding and acknowledges the support of the Leader of the Council in contacting the Secretary of State on their behalf.


3.  Council Assembly also acknowledges that:


a)  Southwark, like the rest of London, is facing a housing crisis, with 16,000 households in the borough on our waiting list, including 3,200 who are homeless and living in temporary accommodation.


b)  We are reliant on the social housing sector and housing associations to deliver the homes our residents need.


c)  Whilst action is needed urgently on building safety, it is wrong to pit the interests of people who are in urgent need of new homes against the needs of leaseholders who are facing unfair costs of building safety work. Both of these groups need solutions which can ultimately, only be provided by central government, including greater funding.


4.  Council Assembly therefore resolves to:


a)  Continue to work with London Councils and the GLA to put pressure on government to do more to protect leaseholders, to ensure that they do not bear the cost of the building safety works and to provide funding to ensure that remediation works can be completed as soon as possible.


b)  Actively engage with our local MPs to push for amendments to the Building Safety Bill to protect leaseholders from additional costs and to establish a new public works agency to oversee cladding remediation.


c)  Continue to support leaseholders in Southwark who are affected by the building safety crisis, including carrying out enforcement of landlords not complying with the removal of cladding.


Motion 4: Youth Democracy


This motion was considered after the guillotine having fallen.


There was one amendment to the motion.


Amendment D was put to the vote and declared to be lost.


The substantive motion was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


Note: This motion will be referred as a recommendation to the cabinet for consideration.


1.  Council assembly notes:


a)  Young people aged 16-24 are the age group that is least likely to vote in elections, as demonstrated by the turnout of 47% amongst 18-24 year olds compared to 74% amongst the over 65s at the 2019 general election.


b)  Despite these low election turnout figures, young people today are often leading the fight on the important political issues of our times, such as the climate school strikes and the Black Lives Matter movement.


c)  The Elections Bill 2021 includes provision for the requirement of photographic ID at polling stations, which is likely to act as a form of voter suppression, particularly amongst groups who are already the least likely to vote.


2.  Council assembly welcomes the fact that:


a)  In July 2021, Southwark Council created the Southwark Youth Parliament, which is for young people aged 14 to 19. Two candidates from each Southwark school and two candidates from ten community areas were successfully elected, along with Southwark’s first-ever Youth Leader and Deputy Youth Leader.


b)  The Welsh government has successfully lowered the voting age to 16 in Wales via the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021. This meant 16 and 17 year olds in Wales were able to participate in the recent Senedd and local council elections in May 2021.



3.  Council assembly believes:


a)  Young people’s participation in politics is essential to our democracy.


b)  More needs to be done to support young people to engage in politics on a local and national scale.


4.  Council assembly calls on the cabinet to:


a)  Continue to support the good work of Southwark’s Youth Parliament.


b)  Put in place measures to make voter registration easy and accessible for all Southwark residents ahead of any future elections, in an effort to increase voter turnout.


5.  Council assembly calls on the government to:


a)  Support legislation that would lower the voting age to 16 across the UK, as is already the case in Scotland and Wales.


b)  Support the provision of high quality Citizenship education in all schools, including appropriate training for teachers and discreet curriculum time.


c)  Abandon the flawed Elections Bill, which will act to deter voter turnout through the introduction of ID requirements at polling stations.


Motion 5: Support for Borough, Bankside and the Wider Area


This motion was considered after the guillotine having fallen.


There was one amendment to the motion.


Amendment E was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


The substantive motion was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


Note: This motion will be referred as a recommendation to the cabinet for consideration.


1.  Council assembly notes that:


a)  Southwark is home to some of the UK’s most significant cultural and historical locations in Bankside, Borough and North Bermondsey.


b)  The area’s history goes back to the earliest days of London, with Anglo-Saxon and Roman settlements. It has historic links with the lives and works of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Dickens. This rich historic heritage continues with Shakespeare’s Globe and the remains of the Rose Theatre. 


c)  The area is still a cultural hub for London. In 2019, the Tate Modern was the second most visited attraction in England with six million visitors. 


2.  Council assembly identifies that:


a)  The Covid-19 pandemic has affected the area and its businesses. In October 2020, Better Bankside Business Improvement District said that footfall was about half what the area experiences for that time of year.


b)  There is a need to continue to support the area and its businesses recover from the pandemic. Continuing to promote the area’s heritage and associated tourism will play a part in any such revival.


c)  Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic the council has provided a large amount of support for business across the borough. In Borough and Bankside, 428 business where supported to the value of £3.64 million.


d)  We must continue to protect and celebrate its historic cultural heritage.


e)  There are a number of heritage protections in place for Bankside. In addition to the listed buildings and scheduled Monuments, we also have the Borough High Street Conservation Area and the Thames Policy Area.


f)  Southwark Council’s Culture and Events team has directly invested over £13.3million in our cultural and heritage offer since 2010, in addition the sector has received funding from several non-culture specific grant programmes.


g)  The council has been able to open the Southwark Heritage Centre and Walworth Library at a time that other local authorities are reducing their commitment to funding heritage projects.


h)  Southwark Council takes its role as the custodian of the historic environment very seriously. Southwark has stated its vision is to preserve, conserve, celebrate and enhance Southwark’s unique, but also fragile and irreplaceable historic environment. The Heritage Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) plays a vital part in designing a heritage strategy for Southwark that identifies what people value about their heritage and how it plays an active role in community life. The council welcomes proposals from the local community for locally listed buildings, in line with the criteria set out in the Heritage SPD.


i)  Southwark is a rich ecological resource with its parks and open spaces home to various species of birds, fish, mammals, wildflowers and invertebrates. The New Southwark Plan introduces 21 new Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) to protect the future ecological diversity of Southwark.


j)  The council has supported cultural institutions within that area including bringing the Africa centre to Southwark, which the council has given assistance in growing the centre from their HQ building to include arches on the Low Line; supporting the Central School of Ballet; and are collaborating with community groups to deliver a new permanent LGBTQ+ centre at Bankside.


3.  Council assembly calls on cabinet to:


a)  Launch and deliver a cultural recovery plan ensuring that Southwark continues to be a borough for cultural excellence; collect, conserve and celebrate our local history for future generations and enable all of our diverse communities to have access to cultural opportunities while protecting, preserving and growing our cultural venues, spaces and provision.


b)  Continue to support business and cultural institutions in Borough and Bankside and across the whole of Southwark. The council must continue to champion the role heritage plays in Southwark’s cultural life while reaffirming that it is the basis of Southwark’s distinct character and allure.


c)  Continue to acknowledge the great benefit in the many diverse voices through musical, literary and artistic creative events that are delivered through cultural groups, open spaces, libraries, heritage centres, museums, theatres, galleries and venues across Southwark.


d)  Continue the Council’s work in supporting heritage and culture with the understanding that history, and how people interpret the value of historic places, looks very different depending upon who you are and where you are looking.


e)  Continue to amplify the many different voices that contribute to making Southwark so special, including social, communal, cultural, economic, spiritual, political, activist, artistic, and literary experiences and these reflect personal matters of belief, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, age, mobility. All have equally important histories that must be preserved, recorded and protected.


Motion 6: Centenary Celebrations for Ada and Alfred Salter


This motion was considered after the guillotine having fallen.


There were no amendments to the motion.


The motion was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


Note: This motion will be referred as a recommendation to the cabinet for consideration.


1.  Council assembly notes:


a)  2022 marks the centenary of Ada Salter becoming Mayor and Dr Alfred Salter being elected MP. The Salters were a legendary and much loved couple, who became famous locally and nationally.


b)  Ada left a well off home in the Midlands to do social work amongst the city slums. Alfred gave up a brilliant medical career to become a local doctor. Together they dedicated their lives to the people of Bermondsey and Rotherhithe.


c)  Their pioneering work on the environment, housing and public health was transformational. Ada’s Beautification Committee planted 9,000 trees and filled public spaces with flowers, playgrounds, music and sport. She designed model council housing and supported women factory workers. Alfred promoted free medical treatment, a solarium, a convalescent home for mothers, and health education by cinema vans on the streets. As Quakers, they both campaigned tirelessly for peace.


d)  The Salters’ key issues – environment, housing and public health – are even more crucial today, as we face a climate crisis, worldwide homelessness and a global pandemic.


2.  Council assembly welcomes the fact that:


a)  Community activists have set up a Salter Centenary Project to celebrate the Salters’ vision and continue their inspiring legacy.


b)  Dame Judi Dench has become their patron, giving her support as a fellow Quaker and enthusiastic environmentalist.


c)  The project will create and support events and activities in the spirit of Ada and Alfred, so their principles are carried forward into the future.


3.  Council assembly calls on the cabinet to:


a)  Celebrate the inspiration of Ada and Alfred Salter in their centenary year by providing resources, for instance to organise a Salter exhibition from the local studies archives.

b)  Support the Salter Centenary Project in its community activities, such as environmental plans for greening the area.


c)  Invite civic representatives and residents from Ada’s home town of Raunds to join the centenary celebrations.


Motion 7: Transport for London funding


This motion was considered prior to the guillotine having fallen.


Councillor Michael Situ moved the motion. Councillor Kath Whittam seconded the motion.


There was one amendment to the motion.  Councillor Nick Johnson moved Amendment F.  Councillor Hamish McCallum seconded Amendment F.


Following debate (Councillors Catherine Rose, Ian Wingfield, Peter John), Amendment F was put to the vote and declared to be lost.


The motion was put to the vote and declared to be carried.


Note: This motion will be referred as a recommendation to the cabinet for consideration.


1.  This Council Assembly is appalled by the Government’s lack of concern for the future funding of London’s transport system. With less than three weeks to go before the emergency deal with Transport for London (TfL) expires on 11 December 2021, there is still no certainty on long-term funding.


2.  Council assembly believes that:


a.  This continued uncertainty poses a grave threat to Londoners’ jobs, livelihoods and health; the delivery of new homes; and efforts to address the climate emergency. Not only is the capital struggling to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic both socially and economically but TfL itself has lost valuable traveller revenue which undercuts its business model.


b.  The alternative to guaranteed funding would be drastic cuts in public transport services, such as:


  i.  An 18% cut in bus services leading to a withdrawal of 100 routes and less frequent services on 200 more;

  ii.  A 9% cut in underground services – resulting in reduced maintenance and the scrapping of the Bakerloo Line extension;

  iii.  Stopping the introduction of new electric buses;

  iv.  Cutting funding to local road improvements – including no more cycle lanes and 20mph zones, and the closure of Rotherhithe Tunnel;

  v.  And a consequent increase in bus and tube fares.


c.  The effect of these cuts would cause widespread disruption and gridlock across the capital, unfairly punishing millions of Londoners, and would put both London’s and the national economic recovery at risk. Without urgent Government investment to plug a £1.9 billion funding gap there will be a resultant ‘managed decline’ in services creating a ‘vicious circle’ of under-investment and service cuts resulting in an infrequent and unreliable transport system.


3.  London’s public transport system desperately needs a proper funding settlement from the Government. It is vital to the national recovery from Covid-19, and it is vital to creating a sustainable, green future. London’s commuters and key workers deserve a world-class public transport system - not drastic cuts and fare hikes.


4.  This Council Assembly therefore calls upon the Leader and the Cabinet to liaise with the Mayor for London, the GLA and London Councils to lobby the Government to guarantee the future funding settlement for TfL.


Supporting documents: