Agenda and minutes

Environment and Transport Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 4 June 2020 2.00 pm

Venue: Skype

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

Note: The Environment and Transport meeting on Thursday 4th June 2020 at 2pm will not be open to the public in line with Government advice on public gatherings. The meeting will be webcast live via the website. 

Media

Items
No. Item

Webcast.

A webcast of the meeting can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWUzmtvkVmA&t=4734s

In attendance.

 

Mr. T. Pendleton, Cabinet Lead Member for Highways and Transport

 

 

71.

Minutes. pdf icon PDF 226 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 5 March 2020 were taken as read, confirmed and signed.

72.

Question Time.

Minutes:

The Chief Executive reported that no questions had been received under Standing Order 34.

73.

Questions asked by members.

Minutes:

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

74.

Urgent Items.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items for consideration.

75.

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 L. Phillimore CC declared a personal interest in regard to any reference to SEND Transport included within Item 8, Coronavirus Update.

 

76.

Declarations of the Party Whip.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of the party whip.

77.

Presentation of Petitions.

Minutes:

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

78.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update. pdf icon PDF 530 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport  updating Members on actions taken by the Department in response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19). A copy of the report, marked ‘Agenda Item 8’, is filed with these minutes.

 

The Director updated the Committee on changes to services and work undertaken since the publication of the report. Arising from the discussion the following points were noted:-

 

i)                Demand for School Transport remained low while parents kept their children home, or made their own transport arrangements. The situation was being monitored to be able to respond to the gradual reopening of schools. The Council had continued to honour its existing bus contracts with school transport providers, despite services not always being provided. .

 

ii)               Around half of school crossing patrol staff were unavailable for work due to being classed  as part of the shielding group. This was not presenting a problem now due to the low numbers of children attending school. Individual locations were being assessed as needed and would continue to be monitored with the gradual easement of lockdown and schools reopening.

 

iii)             All Leicestershire County Council Park and Ride sites, excluding the Birstall  Site which was in use as a COVID-19 testing centre, were up and running from the 1st June.

 

iv)             Government guidance expected local authorities to honour existing contracts with bus providers which the County Council was doing. Government  had also recognised its own responsibility and had issued additional Bus Service Operators Grant and other grant funding to help support services.

 

 

v)              Seven Recycling and Household Waste Sites re-opened on 18th May using an on-line and phone booking system. Members were pleased to note that despite early technical issues the system had worked well and had prevented long queues: a problem other authorities had experienced. Members were assured that advice would be taken on the requirement to  consult before any decision was made regarding retaining the booking system.

 

vi)             Certain highway schemes had to be paused in light of COVID-19. Members were assured that any safety critical work was actioned as needed, and as the situation allowed the Department would restart services listed within Appendix A.

 

 

vii)           Members were pleased to note the first round of grass cutting was expected to be complete by the 10th June. The second cut would follow.

 

viii)              The Department was considering its recently allocated Government Pot Hole fund and Challenge funding and was revising its highway maintenance programme for the current year in light of some of the constraints on service delivery resulting from the current Covid situation. 

 

 

ix)             The Government had indicatively allocated the County Council with £300,000 for the first round of the Emergency Active Travel Fund, to facilitate movement of pedestrians and cyclists where public transport capacity was reduced. Some examples of which would be ‘pop-up’ cycleways and widening of paths to avoid conflict between cars, cyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users.  The Department was in the final stages of its bid, in view of the tight timescale involved the details of the final bid would be circulated to Members following its submission. Members were assured that the funding was ring fenced and that Government had to sign off on the planned schemes first, and that funds received would not be spent elsewhere.

 

x)              There were further funding streams that had been announced which the Department intended to bid for. Members would receive further updates on these.

 

The Committee thanked the Department and officers for working hard to keep critical services going during the current circumstances.

 

 

RESOLVED:

 

 

That the actions taken to date  ...  view the full minutes text for item 78.

79.

Road Casualty Reduction in Leicestershire. pdf icon PDF 568 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 9’ is filed with the minutes.

 

The Committee welcomed Graham Compton from Leicestershire Police to the meeting who highlighted key points within the appended Police Road Safety Report. Arising from the discussion the following points were noted:-

 

i)                Police Officers completed the Department for Transport’s Stats-19 form following each injury accident they attended which was then administered by the County Council. Due to reduced resource the Police were unable to attend every accident, unless there was an allegation made or congestion at the scene. The public were able to submit their own online reports of accidents, however these were not currently included in statistics reported to the Committee.

 

ii)               Fatal 4 Operations focused on, drink and drug drive, seat belt use, distraction and speed. 26 operations had been planned by the Police across Leicestershire but these had been paused as a result of COVID-19. There was a concern that non-compliance was at unacceptable levels, especially with the increase in the drug driving. Further work was being undertaken in conjunction with the Safer Roads Team to look at how best partners could tackle the Fatal4.

 

iii)             During COVID-19 the Police had received increased complaints of speeding. Work was ongoing with the County Council in regard to the 20 community Speed Watch schemes in the pipeline. Members noted that the schemes were oversubscribed and that the Council had to use its limited resource on the most ‘at risk’ areas.

 

iv)             Concern was raised regarding the perception that walking to school was a danger, despite no evidence of accidents or injury occurring. The Director advised members that the problem of perceived danger was also felt with other active travel methods, such as with cyclists on shared walkways or roads, but this was a misconception. The Department worked closely with Public Health and Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Sport to promote active travel with campaigns such as Modeshift. In any campaign considerable thought was put into safety, however due to new school intakes it involved a constant cycle of re-education.  The Director agreed to breakdown and highlight figures relating to vulnerable road users in future reports.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

 

80.

Department for Transport Decarbonising Transport: Setting the Challenge. pdf icon PDF 214 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report of the Director of Environment and Transport to seek the Committee’s views on the Council’s proposed response to the Department for Transport’s Decarbonising Travel consultation. A copy of the report, marked ‘Agenda Item 10’, is filed with these minutes.

 

Arising from the discussion the following points were noted:-

 

i)                The Government’s report listed electrification of the Midland Mainline as a priority. Whilst noting  concerns over an increase in rail freight depot applications, Members were reminded that such freight depot’s worked to restrict the need for HGV’s more widely within the area.

 

ii)               While working from home had benefits for the environment as a result of reduced emissions, there was a concern regarding social isolation as a result of home working. The Council was aware of and would have regard to research such as that being undertaken by the University of Leicester.

 

iii)             the Director reassured members that she would work with the City Council on the submission to look at how best it could benefit the communities within the Leicester Transport area.

 

iv)             It was recognised there was no simple answer to Decarbonisation. While technology had its benefits, the wider life cycle of products and vehicles also needed to be considered when looking at the net total carbon. It was agreed that a one size fits all approach would not be appropriate given the differing needs and service availability between urban, town and rural communities.

 

v)              A study had been undertaken to assess the viability of submitting a bid for the All Electric Towns Fund but concluded that this would not be appropriate. The Council was looking at other bidding opportunities as these emerged over time.

 

RESOVLED

 

That the comments of the Committee be encompassed within the Council’s response to the Department for Transport’s, Decarbonising Transport paper.

 

81.

Progress in Implementing the Passenger Transport Policy and Strategy. pdf icon PDF 239 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport concerning progress in Implementing the Passenger Transport Policy and Strategy (PTPS). A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item 11’ is filed with these minutes.

 

Members noted that £460,000 in savings had been achieved, despite £300,000 growth within the budget to support operators that had withdrawn previously commercial  services. The services were then considered under the Passenger Transport Policy and Strategy.

 

Phases 3 and 4 of the PTPS review had been postponed as a result of COVID-19 until such time as passenger journeys had stabilised, and accurate data could be obtained and public consultation could be undertaken.

 

RESOLVED:

 

a)  That progress achieved in implementing the Passenger Transport Policy and Strategy to date, and the current pause of implementation in light of COVID-19 be noted.

 

(b)  That a further report on the impact of COVID 19 on passenger transport be presented to a future meeting of the Committee.

 

82.

Annual Report on Funding and Performance of Community Transport. pdf icon PDF 321 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport on the Annual Report on Funding and Performance of Community Transport. A copy of the report, marked ‘Agenda Item 12’, is filed with these minutes.

 

The County Council continued to support the 13 operators and would work with them to improve data collection regarding journey data.

 

Members asked that the County Council continued to press the Clinical Commissioning Group’s for long-term grant agreements to support the Section 256 trips.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the report be noted.

 

83.

Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund: Leicester to Burton (Ivanhoe) Line.

A verbal update will be given on this item at the meeting.

Minutes:

The Director gave a verbal update to the Committee on the Department for Transport’s announcement ‘Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund’.

 

The Director informed Members that Government had awarded the Campaign to Re-Open the Ivanhoe Line (CRIL) funding to develop a business case for re-opening the Leicester to Burton (Ivanhoe) Line.  CRIL were awaiting further information and guidance  from Government regarding the use of the grant.

 

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Committee welcomed the announcement that the Leicester to Burton (Ivanhoe Line) had been awarded funding to develop a business case from Government as part of the ‘Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund’.

 

 

84.

Date of next meeting.

The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to take place on 3 September 2020.

 

Minutes: