Agenda and minutes

County Council
Wednesday, 10 July 2019 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber

Contact: Mo Seedat - Tel: 0116 305 2583  Email: mo.seedat@leics.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

Webcast and Order Paper. pdf icon PDF 245 KB

A webcast of the meeting can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWFpwBLs6MnUzG0WjejrQtQ

11.

Chairman's Announcements.

Minutes:

Jenny O’Shea

 

The Chairman referred to the very sad and untimely passing of Mrs O’Shea following a short illness.  It was only a matter of a few weeks that tribute had been paid to Mrs O’Shea at the Annual Meeting, for her unstinting support to Mr O’Shea during their highly successful civic year.  Members joined the Chairman in a round of applause in memory of Jenny O’Shea.

 

Ernie White - Commemoration

 

On Saturday, 29th June the Chairman was privileged to host commemorations to mark the late Mr Ernie White’s contribution to public life.  It was also pleasing that members of Mr White’s family were present.

 

Mr White passed away in January 2018 after a lifetime in local politics.  The commemorations, which involved tree planting off Arbor Road in Croft, which was being developed as woodland, and the unveiling of a plaque at Stoney Stanton library, reflected Mr White’s love of nature and literature, particularly the works of American author John Steinbeck.

 

Mr John Sinnott CBE MVO

 

Members joined the Chairman in congratulating the Chief Executive, who was made a Member of the Royal Victorian Order in the Birthday 2019 Honours List.  This was a special honour given at the personal discretion of Her Majesty The Queen for services to the Royal Family.  The Chief Executive had been recognised for his longstanding work as Clerk of the Leicestershire Lieutenancy.

 

12.

Minutes. pdf icon PDF 215 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by the Chairman, seconded by Mr Jennings and carried:-

 

“That the minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 15 May 2019, copies of which have been circulated to members, be taken as read, confirmed and signed.”

 

13.

Declarations of Interest.

Minutes:

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

 

Mrs Hack declared a personal interest in the notice of motion on Secondary School Transport (minute 18(b)) as her son attended one of the secondary schools affected.

 

 

14.

Questions asked under Standing Order 7(1)(2) and (5).

Minutes:

(A)    Mr Hunt asked the following question of the Leader or his nominee:-

 

Several local authorities have agreed tree planting programmes with targets to spur them on.  Despite the creation of the National Forest, Leicestershire still remains one of the least wooded counties in England.  Could the Leader therefore tell the Council what plans we have to step up tree planting in the county?”

 

Mr Pain replied as follows:-

 

“The historic human and natural development of the County has had an impact on the landscape character and the amount of woodland cover we have.  Currently approximately 4% of Leicestershire and Rutland has woodland cover. 

 

Leicestershire County Council supports small scale tree planting through various tree planting initiatives including the MOREhedges, MOREwoods, Targeting Tree Disease Pack and Free Tree Replacement Schemes.  Since 2009-10 over 25,400 trees and 13,000 metres of hedges have been planted through these schemes.

 

On the Council’s own land, larger capital schemes have been implemented.  These include several National Forest Schemes and intensive landscape schemes on newly constructed roads.

 

During 2019, the Council has reviewed and updated its Tree Management Strategy which is due to be officially adopted in Autumn 2019.  This Strategy identifies the need for a ‘substantial and sustained’ programme of tree planting to offset the effects of tree loss throughout the County and the likely impact of Ash Dieback.

 

The County Council established an Ash Dieback Project board in 2018 to plan and manage the risks to the trees and landscape in Leicestershire.  This includes a £5M indicative budget to manage the impact of the disease, including future replanting considerations.

 

Additional resources and innovative technology have been employed to support effective management, surveying and monitoring of tree health throughout the County.

 

To mitigate the effects of decline in the County’s trees, following the publication of the updated Tree Management Strategy, a programme of tree planting will be developed.  This will support the Government’s “Green Future”, 25-year Environmental plan and aspiration to increase woodland cover in England to 12% by 2060.

 

Not only will this help to minimise the effect on the County’s landscape, it will also contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change and help to achieve many of the objectives outlined in the Council’s Environmental Strategy and the commitments made as part of the recent climate emergency declaration.

 

There are other potential opportunities to increase tree planting which will be explored over the coming years including:

 

-     Urban Tree Challenge fund which was launched in May and the Council is looking to work with partners to submit a joint bid;

-     Countryside Stewardship Scheme;

-     Proposed new Agri-environment scheme known as the Environmental Land Management Scheme;

-     Local Growth Fund;

-     Developer contributions;

-     Planning conditions/obligations.”

 

(B)    Mr Hunt asked the following question of the Leader or his nominee:-

 

“Much of our major highways programme seems to be governed by the ‘predict and provide’ approach as far as resources allow.  Could the Leader advise what plans we have for accommodating the huge predicted use of electric bikes?”

 

Mr Pain replied as follows:-

 

“The growth of the electric bike market is something the County Council is aware of and is fully embracing because of its many sustainable benefits and how it will form another vital part of the Council’s commitment to tackling climate change.

 

Electric bikes enable faster, sweat-free travel as well as easier riding in windy and uphill conditions, therefore removing many of the barriers to people getting on two wheels.  By law electric bikes are limited to 15mph and are suitable for off road infrastructure.  Therefore, like conventional cyclists,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

Position statements under Standing Order 8. pdf icon PDF 211 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader gave a position statement on the following matters:-

 

·         Local Government Association Conference;

·         Medium Term Financial Strategy Consultation;

·         Regulatory Excellence Awards;

·         Update on the ‘Start a Conversation’ Suicide Prevention Campaign;

·         Loughborough University;

·         Campaign to restore the Leicester-Burton Line.

 

The Lead Member for Children and Family Services gave a position statement on the following matters:-

 

·         Children’s Innovation Partnership;

·         MISTLE (Multi-Agency Intervention Support Team Leicestershire);

·         Virtual School for Children in Care and Care Leavers.

 

A copy of the position statements is filed with these minutes.

 

16.

Reports of the Cabinet.

16a

Leicestershire County Council Planning Obligations Policy. pdf icon PDF 206 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Mr Rushton and seconded by Mr Pendleton:-

 

“That the revised Leicestershire Planning Obligations Policy, referred to in Section A of the report to the Cabinet, be approved and that the Chief Executive be authorised, following consultation with the Cabinet Lead Member for planning matters, to make any necessary future revisions to the Leicestershire Planning Obligations Policy to ensure that it is up-to-date and relevant provided that these do not constitute material changes to the Policy.”

 

The motion was put and carried unanimously.

 

16b

Youth Justice Strategic Plan 2019-2020. pdf icon PDF 288 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Mr Ould and seconded by Mrs Taylor:-

 

“(a)      That the draft Leicestershire Youth Justice Strategic Plan 2019 – 2020, be approved;

 

(b)       That the Director of Children and Family Services be authorised, following consultation with the Lead Member for Children and Young People, to make minor amendments to the Youth Justice Strategic Plan 2019-2020 as are considered necessary to ensure it remains current and conforms to the requirements of the Youth Justice Board.”

 

The motion was put and carried unanimously.

 

17.

Report of the Scrutiny Commission.

17a

Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2018/19. pdf icon PDF 184 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was moved by Mr Galton and seconded by Mrs Page:-

 

“That the information contained in the Overview and Scrutiny Annual Report 2018/19, attached as Appendix 1 to this report, on its activities, be noted.”

 

The motion was put and carried unanimously.

18.

Notices of motion:

18a

Safe Passage 'Our Turn' Campaign.

(a)  That this Council notes that the world is experiencing the largest refugee crisis since World War Two with over half the refugees being children, many unaccompanied;

 

(b)  That this Council notes that the number of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children supported in Leicestershire now stands at 92 and that the cost to the County Council  to support such children is £352,000 per annum (net of Government grant);

 

(c)  That this Council builds on its achievements in caring for vulnerable unaccompanied asylum seeking children and refugee children by supporting the Safe Passage ‘Our Turn’ Campaign and commits to a target of ten at risk refugee children per year for the next ten years as part of a fully funded Government vulnerable children’s resettlement scheme.

 

Minutes:

It was moved by Mr Kaufman and seconded by Mr Ould.

 

“(a)    That this Council notes that the world is experiencing the largest refugee crisis since World War Two with over half the refugees being children, many unaccompanied;

 

(b)     That this Council notes that the number of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children supported in Leicestershire now stands at 92 and that the cost to the County Council to support such children is £352,000 per annum (net of Government grant);

 

(c)     That this Council builds on its achievements in caring for vulnerable unaccompanied asylum seeking children and refugee children by supporting the Safe Passage ‘Our Turn’ Campaign and commits to a target of ten at risk refugee children per year for the next ten years as part of a fully funded Government vulnerable children’s resettlement scheme.”

 

The motion was put and carried unanimously.

 

18b

Secondary School Transport.

1.          This Council notes that:-

 

b)    Secondary school transport plays an important role in ensuring students get to school safely, reduces vehicle journeys, road congestion and as a result vehicle emissions.

 

c)     There has been a significant rise, well in excess of inflation, in some the charges levelled on parents for school transport across a number of secondary education providers: 

 

(i)    Bosworth Academy has increased is charges by £75 to £425 for Years 7-9 (Years 10 and 11 are free), and by £125 to £725 for its Sixth Formers;

 

(ii)   Beaver Bus, which covers Lutterworth College, Lutterworth High School, Beauchamp, Thomas Estley, Gartree, St. Martin’s and Hinckley, has not increased prices this year and has costs ranging from £420 to £640 per school year;

 

(iii)  South Charnwood has increased its charges from £570 to £650.

 

d)    Excessive increases in charges are not only a further burden on hard pressed parents but act to increase the use of private cars for the school run.  

 

e)    The prices, as quoted on the Arriva website for commercial bus fares across Leicester Zone 2, which covers Leicestershire is £400 per annum for a child or a student for two journeys a day for 38 weeks.

 

f)      Legislation allows for the use of salary sacrifice schemes to subsidise the use of cycles and Ultra Low Emission Vehicles.

 

g)    At its meeting on 15th May 2019, the County Council declared a climate emergency and committed to work with other public bodies across the county deliver carbon neutrality from its own operations by 2030.

 

h)    Reducing private vehicle use for secondary school transport is a component of tackling the climate emergency and poor air quality and to achieve this it is necessary to encourage co-ordinated policies and action across government and public bodies, including academies.

 

2.         That this Council calls on the Government to recognise:

 

a)    The significant financial pressures on already hard pressed families who, in line with Government policy, seek to exercise choice;

 

b)    The high cost of transport is forcing more parents to drive their children to school resulting in congestion and poor air quality;

 

c)     That affordable school transport is fundamental to achieving one of its key objectives of increasing participation in education and training.

 

3.     This Council therefore calls on the Government to undertake a fundamental review of existing school transport policies and guidance with a view to developing a coherent national strategy for school transport which is affordable and environmentally sustainable.

 

4.     That as an interim measure this Council calls on the Government to bring forward legislation to allow parents to use salary sacrifice schemes such as child care vouchers to pay for secondary school transport up to the age of 18.

 

5.     That all Leicestershire MPs be advised of the Council’s position and be request to offer their support.

 

Minutes:

Mrs Hack, with the consent of the seconder of the motion, sought the consent of the Council to move the following altered motion:-

 

It was moved by Mrs Hack and seconded by Mr Pain:-

 

“1.     This Council notes that:-

 

          (a)          Secondary school transport plays an important role in ensuring students get to school safely, reduces vehicle journeys, road congestion and, as a result, vehicle emissions;

 

          (b)          Whilst legislation requires that transport is provided free of charge to secondary age children up to the age of 16 who live more than three miles walking distance to their nearest school only, Leicestershire also offers transport to the nearest Leicestershire school (if the nearest school is not in Leicestershire);

 

          (c)          The Department for Education provides funding to allow an extended choice of the three nearest secondary schools, providing that these are within two and six miles walking distance, to qualifying low income families and there are currently 196 pupils taking up this benefit;

 

          (d)          The Academies Act 2010 created a more autonomous schools system, giving schools independence from local authority control and increasing parental choice;

 

          (e)          The cost of discretionary transport provided or arranged by schools in conjunction with commercial bus operators has in some cases increased significantly and has placed a further burden on already hard-pressed families;

 

          (f)           At its meeting on 15th May 2019 the County Council declared a climate emergency and committed to work with other public bodies across the county and deliver carbon neutrality from its own operations by 2030;

 

          (g)          Reducing private vehicle usage is an important component of tackling the climate emergency and the County Council has already demonstrated considerable success in this area through working with schools and academies to support walking, cycling and other forms of sustainable travel for the journey to and from school;

 

          (h)          Legislation allows for the use of salary sacrifice schemes to subsidise the use of cycles and Ultra Low Emission Vehicles.

 

2.      This Council therefore:

 

          (a)          Encourages all maintained schools and academies to work with the County Council to build safe and active travel into their pupils’ daily routines and increase the opportunities they have to choose active travel for their journey to school;

 

          (b)          Calls on the Government to ensure that, where active travel is not an option, maintained schools and academies are fully funded to provide affordable and environmentally sustainable school transport for secondary age pupils;

 

          (c)          Calls on the Government also to recognise that as a consequence of the Academies Act 2010 additional burdens have passed to local authorities and to ensure that, in the interests of children, young people and their families, the importance of fully funding local authorities is given the same priority as fully funding schools and academies.

 

3.      That as an interim measure this Council calls on the Government to bring forward legislation to allow parents to use salary sacrifice schemes such as child care vouchers to pay for secondary school transport up to the age of 18.

 

4.      That all Leicestershire MPs be advised of the Council’s position and be requested to offer their support.”

 

The motion was put and carried unanimously.