Agenda and minutes

Environment and Transport Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 11 October 2018 2.00 pm, NEW

Venue: Sparkenhoe Committee Room, County Hall, Glenfield

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.

Mrs. C. Radford CC, Cabinet Support Member for Environment and Transport.

114.

Minutes. pdf icon PDF 227 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 6 September 2018 were taken as read, confirmed and signed.

115.

Question Time.

Minutes:

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

116.

Questions asked by members.

Minutes:

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

117.

Urgent Items.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items for consideration.

118.

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.

 

 

Mr Pain CC declared a personal interest with regard to item 8 on the agenda, ‘Passenger Transport Policy and Strategy’ as relatives owned a local taxi company.

 

Mr. Coxon CC declared a disclosable pecuniary interest with regard to item 9 on the agenda, ‘HS2 Phase 2b’, as an owner of land affected by HS2 and he undertook to leave the meeting during consideration of this item.

 

119.

Declarations of the Party Whip.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of the party whip.

120.

Presentation of Petitions.

Petition - Market Harborough’s Bus Services

 

A petition is to be presented by Barbara Johnson, signed by 2850 local residents, in the following terms:

 

“Market Harborough is the only town in the District with a population of around 24,000 and growing. Vital facilities and businesses in the centre are well over 800m away from the many residents’ homes. We, the undersigned, Market Harborough residents petition the Leicestershire County Council to understand the special nature of this town, and to retain the town’s present bus arrangements after June 2019, to ensure accessibility for all residents, together with the benefits of connectivity, sustainable travel and support for the present thriving local economy.”

Minutes:

The Chief Executive reported that one petition had been received under Standing Order 36.

 

Barbara Johnson presented the following petition, signed by 2850 local residents:

 

Market Harborough is the only town in the District with a population of around 24,000 and growing. Vital facilities and businesses in the centre are well over 800m away from the many residents’ homes. We, the undersigned, Market Harborough residents petition the Leicestershire County Council to understand the special nature of this town, and to retain the town’s present bus arrangements after June 2019, to ensure accessibility for all residents, together with the benefits of connectivity, sustainable travel and support for the present thriving local economy.”

 

The Director of Environment and Transport responded that the draft PTPS was not about specific services. Comments received and representations made would be noted. Should the route require review as a result of the new policy and strategy, if adopted, then the comments and petition now presented would be taken into consideration at that time.

 

121.

Draft Passenger Transport Policy and Strategy. pdf icon PDF 451 KB

A copy of the report to be submitted to the Cabinet at its meeting on 16 October 2018 is attached. The Committee is invited to comment on the draft PTPS. The views of the Committee will be reported to the Cabinet.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport concerning Draft Passenger Transport Policy and Strategy. A copy of the report, marked “Agenda Item 8” is filed with these minutes.

 

Arising from discussion, the following points were raised:

 

i)             All current contracts for subsidised services had been extended to June 2019 to allow for the new Policy and Strategy to be in place and implemented.

ii)            Leicestershire County Council could only assess current demand for transport, as a robust evidence base was needed. When new developments were proposed there would be an assessment of passenger transport needs in relation to that development as part of the planning process.

iii)          Concerns were raised that over 77% of respondents felt the draft policy would make it harder for them to access essential services. However, it was clarified that people agreed with the priority groupings and priority activities identified, but disagreed that an alternative solution could be anything other than a bus service.

iv)          Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) represented a far more cost effective solution than operating and paying for a scheduled bus, which on some occasions may carry few or no passengers. The Council recognised more work needed to be done to promote the benefits and increase the awareness and understanding of DRT; hence £145,000 was being put into resources to help with the transition in the areas that would be affected.

v)            The draft PTPS did not consider “Leisure” as a priority journey; however this did not preclude those users from accessing such services via DRT.

vi)        Currently a major piece of work was underway to refresh the County Council’s Section 106 policy.  The County Council had to look to the regulations governing Section 106 Developer Contributions. Where such contributions had been sought, for instance transport for a new development, if that development was then serviced by a commercial bus operator, the S106 monies would need to be refunded.

 

vii)       Some Bus Pass users had  indicated they would be willing to pay towards their concessionary fare.  However, there was no mechanism for the County Council to facilitate this. The only way for these users to contribute would be for those people to pay the full fare.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the comments of the Committee be forwarded to the Cabinet for consideration at its meeting on 16 October 2018, and that the Cabinet be advised that the majority of the Committee supported  the draft Passenger Transport Policy and Strategy. (Members of the Labour and Liberal Democrat Group expressed concern at the level of savings required of this area of service.)

 

 

122.

HS2 Mitigation. pdf icon PDF 432 KB

A copy of the report to be submitted to the Cabinet at its meeting on 16 October 2018 is attached. The Committee is invited to comment on the proposals. The views of the Committee will be reported to the Cabinet.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport concerning HS2 Mitigation. A copy of the report, marked “Agenda Item 9” is filed with these minutes.

 

It was noted that as of 11th October the Government had published the Working Draft Environmental Statement for consultation on HS2 Phase 2b. The consultation would close on 21st December.

 

Members noted the comments that had been tabled by Local Member Mr Sheahan CC and supported his suggestion that the Director of Environment and Transport should engage with the relevant Local Members when responding to any consultation by HS2.

 

Arising from the discussion was as follows:

 

i)     The impacts on the County would not just be restricted to transport. In 2023, construction would begin and could take up to eight years. This would have implications for departments such as public health, education and social services.

 

ii)    Option 3 was recognised as a high cost. Experience from other councils had shown that investment was necessary to both minimise the impact and get the financial support for mitigation measures for the communities affected. In Buckinghamshire and Warwickshire, the councils had been successful in obtaining approximately £1 million per kilometre of rail to support mitigation. 

 

iii)  Route 4, an alternative proposal through Measham, which would avoid Ashby Canal was with the Secretary of State for decision. The Working Draft Environmental Statement which is out for consultation concerns the preferred route and does not include this alternative route.

 

iv)  Warwickshire’s team had been in place for around seven years. Over that time the focus had changed depending on the phase. The County Council would employ staff on a permanent basis.

 

v)    Some Members were sceptical over whether HS2 would go ahead. Officers advised that the Department for Transport and HS2 were working on the basis that the project would go ahead but if that were to change the County Council would review its current approach.

 

RESOLVED

 

a)    That the comments of the Committee be forwarded to the Cabinet for consideration at its meeting on 16 October 2018, and that

 

b)    That the Committee recommends, that part 2(e) be amended to read as follows:

 

“The Director of Environment and Transport, following consultation with the Lead Member for Environment and Transport and subject to engagement with the relevant local members, be authorised to respond on behalf of the Council to HS2 requests and consultations.”

 

 

123.

Review of Winter Maintenance. pdf icon PDF 437 KB

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport concerning the Review of Winter Maintenance. A copy of the report, marked “Agenda Item 10” is filed with these minutes.

 

 

Arising from the discussion the following points were raised:

 

i)     47% of the network, consisting of all P1 and P2 routes were gritted. This was an increase on the previous year (45%) due to anomalies, new developments and other slight alterations that had been made to the routes. Further optimisation of these routes would be looked into;

 

ii)    Three new gritters had been purchased for the forthcoming season to increase the size of the Council’s fleet and six of the current fleet had been refurbished. One of these would be available for viewing on the morning of  5th December outside County Hall when an information session for members on winter maintenance was planned.

 

iii)  Once salt bins were purchased by Parish Councils from the County Council they would be refilled free of charge for life; refills would be documented to ensure the system was not being abused. Schools could also purchase salt bins through the County Council’s Property Services;

 

iv)  The County Council had weather stations throughout the County measuring the temperature of the carriageway surface to determine if gritting would be required that night and for which geographic areas of the county.

 

v)    The County Council was keen to expand the Snow Warden scheme, further information would be sent out to Parish and Town Councils and to Members,

 

vi)  A rock salt premix with Safecoat was currently being used by the County Council. The Council would be going out for procurement for rock salt in the next year; one of the specifications of the procurement  would be for it to be ‘treated’ rock salt to ensure it functioned with current  equipment.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

 

124.

Street Lighting - Operational Review. pdf icon PDF 342 KB

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport concerning the Street Lighting Transformation Project and the part-night lighting initiative operating across the County. A copy of the report, marked “Agenda Item 11” is filed with these minutes.

 

Arising from the discussion was as follows:

 

i)     The Council’s LED lights were a white light source containing elements of both blue and yellow light and complied with all industry standards, there was no evidence that these lights caused any health problems.

 

ii)    The Central Management System connected to each lantern, enabling the remote switching on and off and dimming and trimming to maximise energy savings whilst ensuring appropriate lighting levels for communities.

 

iii)  If a community or the Police requested lights to be switched on through the night in an area discussions would be held with the Police to consider the need and full night lighting may be restored for a trial period. Members were informed that, in some cases, the Police requested that the County Council switch off lights earlier in certain areas in order to discourage anti-social behaviour. After a spate of crime in Oadby, lights had been switched back on temporarily, this would be continued until the end of the year. The Council would then liaise with Leicestershire Police to consider the next steps forward. This was welcomed by Members.

 

iv)  Cheaper technology meant that the changes to street lighting could be put into place far more economically than when it had originally been proposed, allowing the County Council to buy equipment at the best price and accelerate the LED Street Lighting Transformation project;

 

 

v)    Members highlighted that many people would not know what “50% lighting” would look like. Officers would consider if there was a way to demonstrate this to Members.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

 

 

125.

Leicestershire Recycling and Residual Waste Performance Report. pdf icon PDF 612 KB

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport concerning Leicestershire Recycling and Residual Waste. A copy of the report, marked “Agenda Item 12” is filed with these minutes.

 

Arising from discussion, the following points were raised:

 

i)     The decline in Leicestershire’s recycling performance was attributable to a number of complex factors, a number of which were outside the Council’s control.  It did not necessarily mean residents were doing less; industry ‘light weighting’ trends meant waste weighed less, affecting recorded figures.

 

ii)    Work was underway by district councils to ensure there was a coordinated single published kerbside recycling specification for all districts that use the County contract, so that they could more clearly inform residents as to what could be recycled.

 

iii)  Currently all rigid plastics were being sent to landfill as there was no cost effective market for them. Officers were always considering other ways to deal with those materials.

 

iv)  Further clarification was expected later in the year from the Government when it publishes its Resources and Waste Strategy, at that point it could be appropriate to revisit the current Joint Municipal Waste Strategy.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

 

126.

Date of next meeting.

The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to take place on 8 November 2018, 10.30am.

 

Minutes:

It was noted that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on 8 November at 11am.