Agenda and minutes

Environment and Transport Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 8 November 2018 11.00 am

Venue: Sparkenhoe Committee Room, County Hall, Glenfield. View directions

Contact: Miss C Tuohy (0116 305 5483).  Email: cat.tuohy@leics.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

In attendance.

Mr. B. Pain CC, Cabinet Lead Member for Environment and Transport.

 

127.

Minutes. pdf icon PDF 225 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 11 October 2018 were taken as read, confirmed and signed.

128.

Mr T. W. Thompson

Minutes:

The Committee were sad to note  the death of Tommy Thompson, former Director of Planning and Transportation. Mr Thompson joined the Highways Department as it was then known in 1972 as Principal Assistant County Surveyor. He went on to become Director of Planning and Transportation in 1988 and served in the post until 1997.  It was noted the Council owed him a great debt for all he had contributed to the County.

 

129.

Question Time.

Minutes:

The Chief Executive reported that no questions had been received under Standing Order 35.

130.

Questions asked by members.

Minutes:

The Chief Executive reported that no questions had been received under Standing Order 7(3) and 7(5).

131.

Urgent Items.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items for consideration.

132.

Declarations of interest.

Minutes:

The Chairman invited members who wished to do so to declare any interest in respect of items on the agenda for the meeting.

 

 

133.

Declarations of the Party Whip.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of the party whip.

134.

Presentation of Petitions.

Minutes:

The Chief Executive reported that no petitions had been received under Standing Order 36.

135.

Risk Based Management Approach. pdf icon PDF 1 MB

There will be a presentation for this item.

Minutes:

The Committee considered a presentation from the Director of Environment and Transport concerning the Risk Based Management Approach to Highways Maintenance. A copy of the presentation, marked “Agenda Item 8” is filed with these minutes.

 

Arising from discussion the following points were noted:

 

i)     The ‘Well-managed Highway Infrastructure’ was published on 28 October 2016 and set out an integrated, risk based approach to managing highway infrastructure assets that is to be applied across the United Kingdom.

 

ii)    The introduction of the new Code of Practice meant a move to the Risk Based Approach which would use the type of defect and assess it against the maintenance hierarchy of the network to give a resulting priority repair time allowing for better management of Highways defects. The underlying objective is to maximise preventative maintenance and minimise reactive maintenance.

 

iii)   Gully emptying had been one of the first areas that the department had looked into for the move to a Risk Based Approach. Emptying had been moved to a 10 months, 24 months and 36 months cyclical maintenance service. Those on a three year cycle would be inspected at the two year stage to see if earlier intervention was needed.

 

iv)   Work was being undertaken on how best to circulate information about scheduled works, such as gully emptying, to Members, Districts, Town and Parish Councils.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the members note the presentation.

 

136.

Update on the Implementation of the Revised Funding Methodology for Community Transport. pdf icon PDF 314 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report from the Director of Environment and Transport on the update on the implementation of the revised funding methodology for Community Transport. A copy of the report, marked “Agenda Item 9” is filed with these minutes.

 

From the discussion, the following points arose:

 

i)                       The invaluable service that Community Transport Operators provide to the County.

 

ii)     No negative feedback had been received from Community Transport Operators or users of the service and there had actually been a one percent increase in passenger numbers.

 

iii)    The County Council would continue to work closely with all Operators to support them to ensure the robustness and accuracy of the data collected.

 

iv)    Shree Ram Krishna Community Project did not meet the criteria for Community Transport Operators and, as a result, funding had been phased out.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the update on the Implementation of the Revised Funding Methodology for Community Transport be noted.

 

137.

Annual Performance Report 2017/18. pdf icon PDF 325 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a joint report of the Chief Executive and Director of Environment and Transport on the Environment and Transport Annual Performance Report 2017/18. A copy of the report, marked “Agenda Item 10” is filed with these minutes.

 

From the discussion, the following points arose:

 

i)       Council officers and Leicestershire Police were working together to determine how a change in Leicestershire’s Police procedure has affected the number of reported collisions and a report would be brought in the new year.

 

ii)     The ‘total CO2 emissions from LCC operations (excluding schools)’ showed a significant annual improvement in performance of the Council’s carbon emissions. This was a result of a biomass boiler being installed at County Hall, converting Street lights to LEDs, a decrease in electricity and gas consumption following a review of LCC buildings and an investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and a reduction in emissions from  LCC vehicles.

 

i)       Currently there is no viable market for rigid plastics collected at RHWSs.  The Council had undertaken market engagement and had no response in looking for a solution. The Council was unable to recycle at any cost and therefore have agreed to be more transparent with members of the public and will retain separation of rigid plastics at certain strategic facilities in order to be able to react to any changing markets.

 

ii)     ‘Satisfaction with cycle/route and facilities’ had improved slightly since the previous year. It was measured via satisfaction as it is often given as a reason why people cycled, Cycling around the County is monitored however it was impossible to monitor every route. Currently the Council’s objective is to improve the safety of the  road network to support and encourage cycling,

 

iii)    Mandatory School Zig-Zag keep clear zones were currently being enforced by camera car where the Council had ensured any lines and signage complied with regulations.   The objective was not about catching people but as a deterrent to creating an obstruction or safety hazard.

 

iv)    Currently a pilot was being undertaken within the Access Fund Area in partnership with Leicester City Council, for a school keep clear zone which included a Traffic Regulation Order at certain times of the day. Managing parking around schools in residential areas was challenging as any parking restrictions would  also affect residents. The Council had a finite resource but would try to work with any school that were proactive and had a travel plan in place.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Committee note the report.

 

 

138.

The Development of a Unitary Structure for Local Government in Leicestershire. pdf icon PDF 860 KB

A copy of the report submitted to the Cabinet at its meeting on 16 October 2018 and the relevant Appendix (Appendix E) are attached. The Committee is invited to comment on the proposals. The views of the Committee will be reported to the Scrutiny Commission at its meeting on 14 November 2018.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Chief Executive which had been submitted to the Cabinet on 16 October in response to the Cabinet resolution of 6 July 2018 to enable the Cabinet to consider outline proposals for the development of a unitary structure for local government in Leicestershire.  A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item 11’ is filed with these minutes.

 

The Director of Corporate Resources was also present to introduce the report and made reference to the Chancellor’s budget announcement the previous week, which had been more optimistic than expected.  He anticipated that Government departments outside of health would see a flat real-terms increase in growth and suggested that the following caveats should be borne in mind:-

 

  • Whether all Government departments would be treated the same, or whether services such as defence and the police, education and welfare would receive a greater share of funding;
  • The Government’s funding did not allow for changes in population or demand for services; there was a likelihood that these would increase, particularly for social care, and therefore increase funding requirements;
  • The costs could increase at a faster rate than inflation.

 

Although the pace at which savings were required might be slower, the County Council would still need to make savings.  After making the maximum permitted increase in council tax, the County Council would still need to save between £10 million and £15 million per year to meet ongoing funding pressures, especially in the light of future uncertainties such as Brexit. 

 

Arising from discussion the following points were raised:-

 

Overview

 

(i)             It was queried why the County Council was continuing to work on proposals for a unitary structure of local government in Leicestershire, when the Leicestershire MPs, who had met with the Secretary of State, and District Council Leaders were opposed to any re-organisation.  The Cabinet Lead Member for Environment and Transport advised that the County Council recognised the position of MPs and District Council Leaders but there were many other stakeholders who had not yet had a chance to make their views known.  A democratic process had been started by the Cabinet and it ought to be allowed to continue.

 

Financial Situation

 

(ii)          The County Council was confident that the projected level of savings generated annually by a single unitary authority for Leicestershire would be in the region of £30 million.  This was based on evidence from recently created unitary authorities as well as a refresh of the figures used in the 2014 EY report.  In reorganisations elsewhere, savings of approximately £4.5 million per year were generated for each organisation that was abolished.  There was no evidence to support the assertion that restructuring would cost more than it saved, although it was noted that a one-off expenditure of £19 million was estimated for the implementation of a new unitary authority.

 

(iii)         The development of a unitary structure of local government for Leicestershire would deliver a level of savings which could not be achieved otherwise and would go a long way towards ensuring financial sustainability.  Recent history had shown that organisations facing financial difficulties had had a unitary structure imposed on them.  It was felt to be better to make a decision voluntarily and to manage the process.  Indeed, the financial situation was one of the key drivers behind the proposals for a unitary structure of local government.

 

(iv)         The projected implementation costs included redundancy costs, calculated at a higher than average level to take account of the expectation that a higher than usual number of senior staff would be affected.

 

(v)          It might be necessary, as part of the implementation of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 138.

139.

Date of next meeting.

The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to take place on 17 January 2019 at 2pm.

 

Minutes:

It was noted that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on 17th January 2019 at 2.00pm.