Agenda and minutes

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

Venue: Sparkenhoe Committee Room, County Hall, Glenfield

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

Media

Items
No. Item

In attendance.

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

 

Mr. O. O’Shea CC, Cabinet Support Member.

31.

Election of Vice-Chairman.

Minutes:

It was moved by Mr. A. E. Pearson CC and seconded by Mr Harrison CC.

 

That Mrs J. Richards CC be elected Vice-Chairman of the Environment and Transport Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

 

There being no other nominations, the Chairman declared Mrs. J. Richards elected as Vice Chairman.

 

32.

Minutes. pdf icon PDF 311 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 5 September 2019 were taken as read, confirmed and signed.

33.

Question Time.

Minutes:

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

34.

Questions asked by members. pdf icon PDF 113 KB

Minutes:

The Chief Executive reported that questions had been received under Standing Order 7(3) and 7(5) from Mr Hunt as follows:-

 

Questions from Mr. M. Hunt CC

I am concerned that whilst local planning authorities have given great emphasis to the provision of public transport, cycling and walking, this may not always translate into related major highways works. 

 

1.         When making a case for major highways works to the Government Growth and Housing Fund or the Local Growth Fund, where housing developments are involved, what priority in the process is given to improving public transport access (including bus lanes), safe cycleways and attractive pedestrian routes?

 

2.         Where such housing developments are likely to take many years to complete and bearing in mind this may take 20 years for a Sustainable Urban Extension, what consideration is made to meet climate change targets and the policies being cited by the profession.

 

3.         Do we need to plan our transport network differently to meet climate change targets and the necessary mitigation if we fail, if so where should members learn more about this?

 

4.         Were public transport and active travel modes considered at a sufficiently early stage in the recent A512 widening programme and what developer funding was provided for the scheme and from which developers?

 

5.         I have been told that tree planting replacement on the areas around the A512 project is not possible due to the gradients.  Is this the case, and if so what other planting is possible?

 

The Chairman replied as follows:-

 

1.         When developing any bids, such as the Local Growth Fund or the Growth and Housing Fund, Leicestershire County Council, as the local highway authority, will always look to see what transport improvements can be made against the funding stream criteria. If public transport access, cycle provision or pedestrian facilities are appropriate we will bid accordingly. However other funding streams such as the Access Fund or Local Sustainable Transport Fund are often more suitable for funding these types of measures. The County Council has a strong track record of bidding and securing funding, in a competitive environment, to improve sustainable transport infrastructure as can be seen through the Local Growth Funding scheme on the A50 and the Housing Growth Funding on the A46 and Anstey Lane. Whilst we always seek to secure such infrastructure, it is dependent on the criteria of the funding stream as well as what can be physically delivered.

 

2.         In the main this is a consideration for the Local Planning Authority when the developments are first proposed.  As highway authority the County Council feeds into the planning process and the on-going review of the Leicestershire Highways Design Guide is likely to provide guidelines on how developers can address these issues as far as highway construction and mitigation is concerned. In addition, the continued work undertaken with developers to put in place Travel Plans and promote sustainable modes of travel will also help to contribute to the climate change targets.

 

3.         Regarding planning of the transport network, the County Council has to operate within the context of the national transport policy framework. For several years, the Government’s emphasis for transport policy has been to support housing and economic growth with limited consideration of the environment and climate change.

            The Government have begun the groundwork on the first detailed plan to decarbonise the transport sector and we understand this will be launched next year. The climate action roadmap will be one of many new government climate proposals expected in 2020 to help meet the UK’s legally binding target to build a carbon neutral economy by 2050  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.

35.

Urgent Items.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items for consideration.

36.

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.

37.

Declarations of the Party Whip.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of the party whip.

38.

Presentation of Petitions.

Minutes:

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

39.

Major Road Network: A511 pdf icon PDF 796 KB

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport concerning the A511 Growth Corridor Proposals. A copy of the report, marked “Agenda Item 9” is filed with these minutes.

 

Members thanked officers for the detailed site visit which was provided and highlighted the current problems with congestion and the proposed schemes to improve the A511. It was agreed future site visits would be organised as appropriate.

 

Members noted the detailed comments provided by local member Dr. T. Eynon CC. In response the Director briefly addressed the following four points raised as follows:-

 

Assurance that the Junction 6, the Bardon Link Road was deliverable’ – Officers were already in the process of liaising with Network Rail (due to the long lead in time) and with landowner’s whose land would need to be acquired for the proposals.

‘Feasibility of a walk/cycle path into Coalville’ – While this will complement the Major Road Network (MRN) bid, the cycle path along the disused railway near the link road would be added to the Coalville Cycle Strategy, officers would consider how it could be progressed.

Assurance that the Stephenson’s Way roundabout will have the capacity to cope with the traffic’ – Members were assured that officers had undertaken simulations of the traffic into 2030 to ensure it would have the capacity to deal with future pressure.

‘A harmonisation of the speed limits along the A511’ – this issue had been the subject of long and detailed discussions. The County Council would always manage speeds as per the national criteria.

 

A more detailed response would be provided to Dr Eynon on this and the other points raised in her submission.

 

Arising from the wider discussion, the following points were raised:-

 

i)     Extensive engagement had been carried out. While responses received agreed with the need for improvement many wanted the proposals to go further. Members were informed that the County Council were only able to bid up to £50million as part of the Major Road Network (MRN) scheme. However, the County Council were in ongoing discussions with the Department for Transport (DfT) to see how the scheme could be developed to encourage sustainable travel, which had not been in the original specifications set out by DfT.  Due to limited land along the A511 it was unlikely that a bus lane could be included in the scheme but officers were exploring other ways to promote sustainable travel along the route.

 

ii)    Members were pleased that the scheme would improve air quality by easing congestion and preventing stop start movements, especially through the Birch Tree Roundabout which was considered one of the worst areas in Leicestershire for air quality.

 

iii)   Concern was raised over shared cycle and walking paths, due to the increasing use of mobility scooters. Officers assured members their comments would be fed in as part of the design process.

 

iv)  The Director reported that the Council had recently received a “Planning for Natural Environment” award for the work undertaken on the Melton Mowbray bypass. Members were assured the good work would continue into the A511 proposals and that tree planting would include a mixture of coniferous and deciduous trees, where appropriate.

 

v)    Members were informed that the County Council were looking to conclude a risk sharing agreement with North West Leicestershire District Council to deal with the situation that if the £7.0m that the County Council had to forward fund was not repaid through Section 106 agreements.  The risk was considered low as developments with planning agreement’s already in place would be sufficient to cover the costs incurred.

 

vi)  While the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.

40.

Environment and Transport Annual Performance Report 2018/19. pdf icon PDF 334 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 2018/19. A copy of the report, marked “Agenda Item 10” is filed with these minutes.

In introducing the report, the Director reported the overall strong performance of the Highways, Transport and Environment performance comparators and the lower performance of the Waste indicators. However, as the Committee had previously been informed some of Waste indicators were expected to improve from 2020 following the new arrangements to divert additional waste from landfill to a treatment facility in Coventry.

 

From the discussion, the following points arose:

 

i)             The Committee were pleased to note Government’s announcement for an additional £14.7million through the Housing Infrastructure Fund for the Melton Mowbray distributor road southern section.

 

ii)            ‘Percentage of the unclassified road network where maintenance should be considered’ had increased from 12% to 15%. While the Council remained in the top quartile for comparator councils, due to the funding pressures this indicator was likely to continue to decline.

 

iii)           There were three sections to the Future Recycling and Household Waste Site’s (RHWS) workstream, firstly the insourcing of Whetstone, which was progressing. Secondly, the consultation on proposed change to RHWS summer opening hours, officers were in the process of reviewing the response received. The third area of focus was around increasing levels of re-use at RHWSs.  With regard to the latter Members were assured that work was ongoing, and that procurement was being developed to improve current re-use contracts. A member of staff had also been recruited to train RHWS waste operatives to enable them to support customers with re-use. It was noted that infrastructure changes had/willtake place across the RHWSs to provide covered areas to maintain material, so a critical mass could be collected, which could potentially enable the Council to create a re-use shop or auctions in future.

 

iv)           While the Council had been unsuccessful in lobbying the Government to fund the speed camera initiative through fines levied, it was clear speeding remained a key concern for communities across Leicestershire. The County Council would continue to consider how it could harness the speed camera scheme to the benefit of other communities.

 

v)            In response to concern raised over parking on grass verges the Director informed Members that it was legal to park on verges if there was no parking restriction on the road and the vehicle did not cause obstruction or a safety concern. Where parking did contravene the highway code by causing an obstruction or safety issue, that would be a matter for the Police to enforce. The Department was aware that other councils had lobbied government to seek powers that would enable them to act without the presence of a police officer, however nothing yet had come from it.

 

vi)           Unlike overgrown hedges, where responsibility was easily identifiable, it was difficult to evidence responsibility for damage to grass verges. Whilst there would be exceptions, in general it was hard and costly to take definitive action.

 

vii)          The funding pressure on the County Council meant the Department could only fund maintenance repairs where an asset posed a danger, not to improve its appearance. Where communities or residents wished to fund an improvement project, provided the proper processes were followed, the Council would help to facilitate the project.

 

The Committee thanked officers for the detailed report provided and were pleased to note the broad range of initiatives, as set out in the draft annual report, being undertaken within the Department.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

 

41.

Review of Highway Gully Cleansing. pdf icon PDF 407 KB

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport on the review of highway gully cleansing. A copy of the report, marked “Agenda Item 11” is filed with these minutes.

 

The Director addressed a concern raised that external contractors would in the long run pass further costs on to the Council. Members were assured that as the trial had shown external contractors typically out-performed County Council operatives due to the bonuses offered for gullies cleansed. Where more investigation into the drainage network, or intensive work was required these would be programmed in for the Council’s in house gully team, as would have previously been the case.

The Lead Member for Environment and Transport, Mr Pain CC, added that the Department were looking to replicate the risk-based management approach with other highways assets and hoped it would provide further efficiencies for the Department.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

 

42.

Permit Scheme Update for Street Works and Road Works. pdf icon PDF 551 KB

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport regarding the Permit Scheme update for street works and road works. A copy of the report, marked “Agenda Item 12” is filed with these minutes.

 

The Director reminded members that One.Network (formerly known as roadworks.org) had live up to date information on roadworks, road closures and diversions across the county.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

 

43.

Date of next meeting.

The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to take place on 16 January 2020 at 2pm.

 

Minutes:

It was noted that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on 16th January 2020 at 2pm.

 

44.

Any other items which the Chairman has decided to take as urgent.

Minutes:

The Committee considered this matter, the Chairman having decided that it was of an urgent nature…

Webcast.

A webcast of the meeting can be viewed at [insert link].