Agenda and minutes

Environment and Transport Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 7 March 2019 2.00 pm

Venue: Sparkenhoe Committee Room, County Hall, Glenfield

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

Items
No. Item

Webcast.

A webcast of the meeting can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cSW8ZEeDS2E

 

In attendance.

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

 

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

153.

Minutes. pdf icon PDF 240 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 17 January 2019 were taken as read, confirmed and signed.

154.

Question Time.

Minutes:

The Chief Executive reported that questions had been received under Standing Order 35 from Mrs Jan Bartholomew.

 

Mrs Bartholomew, a member of the public asked the following questions:

“I was shocked and horrified to read the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change report to the United Nations last autumn which stated that we have as little as 12 years to avoid the worst impacts of climate breakdown and that insufficient action during these years will lead us to a tipping point at which climate change becomes irreversible. The report concludes that “limiting global warming to 1.5C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.

I have since read the County's Environment Strategy targets but, comprehensive though they are, as they are based on the Paris Agreement of 2015, are clearly no longer anywhere near adequate.

Will the County Council therefore consider:-

a) declaring an immediate Climate Emergency to guide every aspect of decision- making, with the aim of achieving carbon neutrality by 2025, as has been done by other Councils?

b) taking all necessary steps to make people aware of the seriousness of the situation and of the urgent need for change, so that we may all play our part including the establishment of a series of Citizens' Assemblies, which have been used successfully to resolve previously intractable problems?

c) pressing Central Government to lead the way by committing to major investment in alternative forms of energy and by making available to the Council the funds and powers needed to achieve the new and much more ambitious target of reaching climate neutrality by 2025?”

 

Mr Pearson, replied as follows:

 

 

“a)  The County Council is aware of the concerning findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report that was issued in October 2018. It estimates that there are only 11 years left to act decisively on climate change and to be able to keep global warming within 1.5°C, which is critical for the well-being of our planet.

 

The County Council has a longstanding commitment to the environment and to meeting the challenge of climate change and has signed up to the Nottingham Declaration on Climate Change in 2006, to Climate Local in 2012 and to the UK 100 Pledge in 2018.

 

In signing up to these commitments and pledges the County Council has sought to back this up by actions so that such pledges and commitments are meaningful. The actions taken have resulted in the County Council, being accepted into the Carbon Trust’s Local Authorities Carbon Management Programme in 2008 producing a comprehensive Council wide Environment Strategy and Action Plan in 2009,, establishing a robust Environmental Management System for the Council in 2011, working to the ISO14001 standard and more recently the launch of the Council’s new Environment Strategy in 2018.

 

The actions undertaken in the delivery of these commitments and pledges have resulted in a 61% reduction in our carbon emissions and a 55% reduction in our wider greenhouse gas emissions since 2008-09. Our target was to achieve a 34% reduction in both measures by March 2021. Therefore, the Council achieved its targets 4 years ahead of schedule and exceeded them by an average of 40%.

 

While we can acknowledge that there is an increasing urgency for action to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and that this needs to be achieved through the achievement of carbon neutrality in the quickest time possible, as a Council we can only operate within our scope of control and influence. We also need to balance the competing demands on our ever decreasing resources and finances.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 154.

155.

Questions asked by members.

Minutes:

The Chief Executive reported that questions had been received under Standing Order 7(3) and 7(5).

 

Mr Hunt CC asked the following questions of the Chairman:

 

1.    “Many people I meet feel that the county is shuffling responsibility for car parking   onto ill-equipped school heads whose responsibilities lie elsewhere.  So what evidence is there that, as was reported to Council last month "schools in general are working positively with the Council to tackle the issues that arise from inconsiderate parking" and that this is working?

 

2.    Could he tell the Committee exactly how we are actively working with Sustrans and Leicestershire and Rutland Sport, to deliver “a joined up approach at a level never achieved before” and what does ‘joined-up’ mean in this respect?

 

3.    What, briefly, is the job of the Active Travel Schools Officer who is charged with support schools in the delivery of their travel plans, who does the officer report to, is this their sole responsibility and how many schools will be involved?

 

4.    We are told that the School Camera Car Scheme which commenced in April 2018 and has funding for two years and at the end of the project the data will be assessed.  Will the scheme cease in April 2020 while the data is assessed or will we receive an assessment report earlier this financial year?  What evidence is being collected in order to evaluate the longer term effectiveness of this scheme?  For example, are we collecting Penalties issued with and without detection by the School Camera Car at the same school over similar time periods?

 

5.    Why doesn’t the County Council deploy their Civil Enforcement Officers regularly around schools at the two key periods of weekdays in term time and attend to shoppers’ parking at other times?

 

6.    What measures are being put in place to actively engage with head teachers using the local head teacher email group and when will these be in place?  Is this just a kind of information or bulletin board and what are the intended outcomes?

 

7.    There is some evidence that Travel Plans are not obliged to be presented with planning applications for new school buildings.  What controls are in place to ensure this should always happen?

 

8.    Given that the iTrace Travel Planning tool is no longer in use what was the reason for abandoning it because it seemed to offer so much?

 

9.   Could the Chair ask the Director to issue clear and credible instructions indicating pathways available to County Councillors who receive regular complaints about irresponsible parking around schools?”

 

 

The Chairman replied as follows:

 

1.     “We understand that the role of the head teacher is a complicated one with their responsibility encompassing a number of varied facets; however it is vitally important to have their support in improving the parking situation around schools as well as promoting other sustainable modes of travel. This is evidenced in the example of Elizabeth Woodville Primary School, a school who have achieved gold Modeshift STARS accreditation, the regional primary school of the year award as well as being one of 5 primary schools attending the national awards in London in March. The head teacher there has been a key catalyst in improving the safety of the school environment, empowering the pupils through the Junior Road Safety Officer (JRSO) scheme and additional opportunities as well as working alongside other partners to make improvements to the infrastructure on the road outside of the school. This has contributed to a more positive and engaged experience for the pupils who attend the school. While no one party is able to solve such  ...  view the full minutes text for item 155.

156.

Urgent items.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items for consideration.

157.

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.

 

No declarations were made.

158.

Declarations of the Party Whip.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of the party whip.

159.

Presentation of Petitions.

a.    Make Queniborough Roads Safer

 

A Petition is to be presented by Ms. J. Hardy, Headteacher of Queniborough CE Primary School signed by 687 local residents in the following terms:

 

We the undersigned ask the County Council to work with the residents of Queniborough to develop a plan for the village so that the children and residents can travel around the village safely and so reduce the need for vehicle journeys. Speeding, traffic, heavy lorries, the lack of pedestrian crossing are all issues in the emerging Neighbourhood Plan and we ask the County Council to join us in addressing these issues and improving the quality of life in our village. The petition is supported by Queniborough Parish Council, Queniborough Primary School, Transport Group of the Neighbourhood Plan.

Minutes:

 

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

 

Mrs Joy Hardy, Headteacher of Queniborough Primary School presented a petition signed by 687 local residents in the following terms:

 

We the undersigned ask the County Council to work with the residents of Queniborough to develop a plan for the village so that the children and residents can travel around the village safely and so reduce the need for vehicle journeys. Speeding, traffic, heavy lorries, the lack of pedestrian crossing are all issues in the emerging Neighbourhood Plan and we ask the County Council to join us in addressing these issues and improving the quality of life in our village. The petition is supported by Queniborough Parish Council, Queniborough Primary School, Transport Group of the Neighbourhood Plan.”

 

Mr Poland, the Local Member reported that the petition called for a wider strategy across Queniborough in order to make it safer for pedestrians due to the nature of the roads which had made it as a rat-run for drivers to the A42.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the petition be received and that the Director of Environment and Transport carry out surveys at the locations indicated in order to present a report at the next meeting of the Environment and Transport Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

160.

National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Draft Quality Standards and How Leicestershire County Council Might Address Them. pdf icon PDF 337 KB

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport which responded to a question put by Mr Hunt CC in relation to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence draft quality standards and how the County Council may address them. A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item 8’ is filed with these minutes.

 

Arising from the discussion were the following points:

 

i)             The consultation on the NICE draft quality standards had closed in early February and a response to the consultation outcome was awaited.

 

ii)            The Council would look at local area needs during the development process. While prioritisation for pedestrians might be appropriate in urban areas it was recognised that it may not always be the case in rural areas. Each scheme/area would be considered on a case by case basis.

 

iii)           The Government had offered no guidance regarding what distance would be reasonable to expect people to travel to work. According to Modeshift an adult could be expected to cycle up to five miles. For children, travelling to school the walking distance was set out in legislation

 

iv)           New Lubbesthorpe was adopted the Health in All Policy (HIAP) approach and was considered a beacon development.

 

v)            It was noted that a number of local authorities had benefited from ‘Devolution Deals’ such as Greater Manchester this had enabled the area to commit high levels of funding towards walking, cycling and public transport. The Lead Member for Environment and Transport felt that such a deal for Leicester and Leicestershire would enable them to be in a stronger position to drive forward active and sustainable travel and the physical activity agenda.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report on the how Leicestershire County Council may address the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Draft Quality Standards be noted.

 

161.

Environment and Transport Performance Report to December 2018. pdf icon PDF 246 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a joint report of the Director of Environment and Transport and the Chief Executive, the purpose of which provided an update on departmental performance at the end of quarter 3 of 2018/19. A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item 9’ is filed with these minutes.

 

The Director introduced the report and clarified that the data for ‘CO2 emissions per capita in the local area’ had mistakenly included data from the railway and motorway. Once this data was removed the Council was rated in the 3rd quartile, rather than the 4th quartile.

 

Arising from discussion, the following points were raised:

 

i)             ‘Local bus passenger journeys originating in the authority area’ had improved in performance up to 13.43million and had reached its target. However the Council remained in the 4th quartile for the indicator. It was acknowledged that the County had limited powers to influence bus passenger journeys.

 

ii)            ‘The percentage of municipal waste sent to landfill’ had increased to 34.1%, missing the target of 30%. This was due to the loss of the mechanical biological treatment facility at Cotesbach after the market had failed. It was anticipated that the position would improve from 2020 when a share of Leicestershire’s waste would be sent to the incinerator facility in Coventry. The Council was also in the process of preparing a business case for other alternatives to landfill for an additional of 50,000tonnes of waste.

 

iii)           Funding that had been received from the Department for Transport for highways maintenance had to be spent by the County Council by the end of March. Cabinet had already authorised additional works to be undertaken in the year, to be funded from underspends. However, given the late notification, and limited capacity to deliver additional works in the year, the money that had been allocated by the Cabinet from underspends had instead been retained in reserves to be used to meet future pressures. Members noted that as a result of the Government funding most of the road retexturing schemes, which had arisen from the summer heatwave, had been completed.

 

iv)           It was acknowledged that the overall funding for highways maintenance was insufficient.  If the Council knew what funding it could be expect from Government for the next few years it would help the Council to plan for the medium term and this would ensure the money was spent effectively.

 

v)            It was felt the Council was performing well within its budget. The Department would in future refresh the targets in order to reflect indicators which the County Council had the power to impact upon.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the update on Departmental performance at the end of Quarter 3 of 2018/19 be noted.

 

162.

Resources and Waste Strategy. pdf icon PDF 269 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport which gave an overview of the Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy for England (2018).  A copy of the report, marked “Agenda Item 11” is filed with these minutes.

 

Arising from the discussion the following points were noted:

 

i)             The Government had planned to transpose existing EU targets into UK law in the event of Brexit.

 

ii)            Due to the twelve week consultations and the time it took for the County Council to respond to the many consultations arising from the Government’s Strategy it was agreed draft responses would be circulated to the Chairman and Spokespersons of the Committee three weeks before the consultation closes with a deadline for comments. The response and comments would then be discussed with the Lead Member and a final response sent by the Director of Environment and Transport.

 

iii)           It was recognised that some of the Government’s proposals would potentially reverse decisions made such as stopping food waste collection. The Council would keep an active watch on the situation. It was considered prudent that the review of the Joint Municipal Strategy should wait until the Government’s final position was known.

 

iv)           The impact of the decision taken by the Cabinet on recycling credits would be submitted to a future meeting.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the overview of Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy for England and the interdependency between it and the Leicestershire Municipal Waste Management Strategy be noted.

 

163.

Environment and Transport 2019/20 Highways Capital Programme and Highways and Transportation Work Programme. pdf icon PDF 333 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport concerning the Environment and Transport 2019/20 Highways Capital Programme and Highways and Transportation Work Programme.  A copy of the report, marked “Agenda Item 11” is filed with these minutes.

 

Arising from discussion, the following points were raised:

 

i)     The Environment and Transport Capital Programme and the Highways and Transportation Work Programme had been developed within what continued to be challenging circumstances. The Department was required to make savings of £74m over the following  four years, with £13.3m savings to be made in 2019/20 alone. The Capital Programme was funded from a variety of sources, including the Department for Transport Capital Maintenance Grant, the Local Growth Fund, other Government competitive funding schemes and the County Council’s capital programme.

 

ii)    The report to Cabinet would seek authorisation to allow delegation to the Director of Environment and Transport to enter into contracts for approved Highways Capital Programme schemes, in advance of all external funding required to deliver the scheme being in place, to allow early contractor involvement where needed.

 

iii)   Environmental assessments would be undertaken in regard to the relevant policies and schemes at the appropriate point during their development. If a scheme was considered to be undeliverable due to its adverse environmental impact the Council would comply.

 

iv)  There was a significant change to the cost of the Zouch Bridge Replacement as a result of compulsory purchase orders and other changes and as a result a report would be made to Cabinet.

 

v)    The County Council was currently engaging partners on the design of the Hinckley Area Project Zone 4, there would be a public consultation on the project later in the year.

 

vi)  The A46 Expressway was funded by Midlands Connect. The Council had put aside funding of under £50,000 in order to assist in any supporting work that the Council may need to provide. It was noted that the funding may not be needed.

 

vii) The Director clarified that the A47 Desford Crosswords was in band D ‘funding below £50,000’, not Band B. This meant that  if a suitable funding stream became available work could be undertaken to produce a bid for the funding.

 

RESOLVED

 

That the comments of the Committee be forwarded to the Cabinet for consideration at its meeting on 29 March 2019, and that the Cabinet be advised that the Committee supported the Environment and Transport 2019/20 Highways Capital Programme and Highways and Transportation Work Programme.

 

164.

Road Casualty Reduction in Leicestershire. pdf icon PDF 455 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport which provided an update on road casualty statistics and Leicestershire‘s approach to casualty reduction. A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item 12’ is filed with these minutes.

 

The Committee welcomed Graham Crompton from Leicestershire Police to the meeting.

 

Arising from discussion, the following points were made:

 

i)             A national system was in place to record the level of killed, seriously or slightly injured casualties, that data was collated by Leicestershire Police and analysed by the County Council.

 

ii)            The Medium Term Financial Strategy included £500,000 in 2018/19 for road safety schemes.

 

iii)           Cluster sites classified as ‘not progressed’ have been investigated but no trend or remedial works had been identified.

 

iv)           Concern was expressed that the cyclist ‘killed or seriously injured (KSI)’ statistics had increased from 16 to 29. The Department would look into the statistics and consider what could be done and report back in the next annual road casualty report.

 

v)            Whilst motorways were managed by Highways England the figures of KSI still had to be included in the total figures as it was a requirement of the  Department for Transport’s Strategic Framework for Road Safety.

 

vi)           Members asked that the Department consider adding information onto the Driver Education Workshop website regarding Driver Training schemes delivered by the Institute of Advance Driving and the Royal Society of the Prevention of Accidents. Members felt this might encourage members of the public to attend refresher courses and driving standards would be improved.

 

The Chairmen then invited Graham Compton to update the Committee.

 

 

 Mr Compton stated that like the County Council the Police had diminishing resource having lost a quarter of staff since 2008. As a result the Police were unable to attend all road accidents. In 2017 the Police had revised their practice for responding to accidents to reflect pressures on staffing. The Force Control room would take the decision whether to dispatch a police officer to the scene of the accident and this was dependent on whether any injuries were reported, if there was congestion at the scene or if there was any allegation regarding a person at the scene. This meant officers were not deployed to slight injuries and instead could respond to higher priority crime.

 

Following an internal audit of the process Leicestershire Police believed that due to the new process there had been a 17% fall the reporting of accidents, whereas a fall of 9% was attributable to the natural progression of the reduction of accidents.

 

Since mid-January 2019 on-line reporting of accidents had been introduced by the Force. Following its introduction 225 accidents had been reported, 33 of which were injury accidents which may have otherwise been missed. The Force would consider this additional input in the data to be produced to avoid any potential for duplication.

 

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the update provided on road casualties in Leicestershire and Leicestershire’s approach to casualty reduction be noted.

 

 

165.

Date of next meeting.

The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to take place on 6 June 2019 at 2pm.

 

Minutes:

It was noted that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on 6th June at 2.00pm.