Agenda and minutes

Environment and Transport Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 17 January 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

141.

Minutes. pdf icon PDF 169 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meetings held on 8 November 2018 were taken as read, confirmed and signed.

 

In attendance.

Mr Rhodes CC, Cabinet Lead Member for Resources. (Minute 148 refers)

Mrs Radford CC, Cabinet Support Member.

 

142.

Question Time.

Minutes:

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

 

143.

Questions asked by members.

Minutes:

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

 

Mr Hunt asked the following question of the Chairman:-

‘The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has said that new roads and upgrades should prioritise pedestrians, cyclists and public transport to promote more physical activity.   

Would the Director of Environment and Transport, in conjunction with Public Health officers, report to the Committee on how LCC might address the set of draft guidelines for local authorities from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence?’

The Chairman replied as follows:-

“A report will be brought to the next meeting on 7th March 2019 regarding the draft guidelines for Local Authorities from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.”

 

144.

Urgent Items.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items for consideration.

145.

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.

 

146.

Declarations of the Party Whip.

Minutes:

 

There were no declarations of the party whip.

 

147.

Presentation of Petitions.

Minutes:

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

148.

Medium Term Financial Strategy 2019/20 - 2022/23. pdf icon PDF 472 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a joint report of the Director of Environment and Transport and Director of Corporate Resources which provided information on the proposed 2019/20 to 2022/23 Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS) as it related to the Environment and Transport Department. A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item ‘8’ is filed with these minutes. 

The Chairman welcomed Mr Rhodes CC, the Cabinet Lead Member for Resources and Mrs Radford CC, the Cabinet Support Member to the meeting for this item.

 

Proposed Revenue Budget and Budget Transfers and Service Transformation

 

In introducing the report, Cabinet Lead Members for Resources advised members of the financial challenges facing the Council. The Revenue Support Grant would reduce from £8.5million to zero. The inflationary and demand pressures on services provided by the Council were increasing. The Cabinet had indicated that it would prioritise adult social care and children services. However, the Cabinet recognised the pressures on the Environment and Transport Department and the need to provide good and sustainable services and had provided growth of £2million for SEN Transport and £800,000 per annum dealing with HS2 and ash dieback forestry. The Government was looking to change the funding formula but this would not happen until 2020/21 at the earliest. It was anticipated that the funding formula would address some of the current anomalies and this might improve the Council’s financial position in the future. If that were not to happen the financial outlook would be severe.

 

The Director advised of the significant change that had taken place across the Department to enable it to achieve total savings of £43million since 2010/11. The Department faced increasing pressures arising primarily from:-

  • Higher expectations form the public about levels of service and response times;
  • Increasing demand form population growth;
  • Higher rates of inflation particularly within the construction sector;
  • The need to respond to the growth agenda in terms of planning and bidding for infrastructure projects;
  • Increasing difficulties in recruiting and retaining staff.

 

The savings now expected from the Department were extremely challenging. The Department and its partners were looking at smarter working and delivery and to invest to save schemes.

The growth in the staffing budget reflected the need to engage staff to help the Council develop infrastructure bids (such as the Melton Mowbray Distributor Road and Housing Infrastructure Bids) and to ensure that the Council responds to the HS2 project. With regard to HS2 the Council was seeking to mitigate the adverse impacts and maximising opportunities such as the case for classic connectivity as well as supporting businesses to take advantage of potential business opportunities.

With regard to inflation this was held centrally and allocated in-year when the position became clearer.

 

In response to questions and comments the Committee was advised as follows:-

 

Growth

G15– SEN Transport

i)          This growth was essentially to meet the increasingly complex needs now being presented by some service users.

 

Savings – Highways and Transport

 

ET1 – Revised Passenger Transport Policy

ii)         All supported bus services would be assessed using the new criteria set out in the Passenger Transport Policy which was recently agreed by the Cabinet. It was therefore not possible to give any commitment about the future of any particular bus service ahead of the review.

{Mr Bill CC asked that it be recorded that he opposed this savings proposal as it would adversely impact bus service provision}.

ET2– Social Care and SEN Transport

iii)        The impact of the new eligibility criteria would be reviewed following 12 months of operation and the outcome reported to the Committee. Members were reminded that the policy made provision for exceptions on appeal  ...  view the full minutes text for item 148.

149.

Environmental Performance 2017-18 and Greenhouse Gas 2017-18. pdf icon PDF 312 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport concerning the Council’s environmental performance and greenhouse gas emissions for 2017/18. A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item 9’ is filed with these minutes.

 

In response to questions the Director advised as follows:-

i)     The timescales for undertaking the works at the Refuse and Household Waste Sites would be determined in the context of the capital programme and contracts yet to be entered into;

ii)    The closure of the MBT was as a result of the collapse in the market for Refuse Derived Fuel caused by environmental issues faced by the end user of the RDF material;

iii)   The council’s contract for energy provision runs until 2021 and the renegotiation of the contract will address the issue of supplies from green sources.

 

RESOLVED:

That the report be noted

 

150.

LLEP Energy Infrastructure Strategy. pdf icon PDF 493 KB

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport which provided an overview of the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership’s (LLEP) Energy Infrastructure Strategy. A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item 10’ is filed with these minutes.

In discussion the members welcomed the report but commented as follows:-

i)     Food production was a major source of greenhouse gases but was not addressed in the report. Members were advised that this was outside the scope of the report and reminded that agriculture and livestock played a key role in the economy.

ii)    A change in building regulations requiring new build and developments to consider energy efficient homes and local green energy generation schemes on major developments could play a significant role in reducing carbon emissions;

iii)   Whilst electric cars provided an opportunity to reduce greenhouse gases there needed to be substantial investment in providing the appropriate infrastructure. Concern was also expressed about how the additional electricity requirements would be met;

iv)   The recession had resulted in a number of previous measures aimed at reducing greenhouses gases such as the fuel escalator and proposed tax on work-based parking being shelved.

Members were advised that all LLEPs had been asked to undertake such a review and the outcome would be reported to Government. It was hoped that this would lead to Government action to address some of the challenges highlighted.

 

RESOLVED:

That the report be noted

 

151.

A46 - Update on Midlands Connect Work pdf icon PDF 564 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport concerning the work Midlands Connect is carrying out on the A46 Corridor across the East and West Midlands. A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item 9’ is filed with these minutes.

In response to questions the Director advised as follows:-

a)    This was a high level study and considerable work remained to be done.

b)    Whilst a number specific sections for further investigation have been identified in the study these were on the basis that the particular issues and sensitivities at these locations would need particular consideration if they were to be considered in the planning of the route. It was emphasised that there is no defined line for the route;

c)    Should any of the suggestions for growth areas proceed this would only be after extensive consultations with the local community through the local planning process.

 

Mr Bill CC expressed concern regarding the study and proposals that would affect the Hinckley area as the focus was purely on growth and seemingly little regard to the environmental impact.

 

RESOLVED:

That the report be noted.

 

152.

Date of next meeting.

The next meeting of the Committee is scheduled to take place on 7 March 2019 at 2pm.

 

 

Minutes:

It was noted that the next meeting of the Committee would be held on Thursday 7 March 2019 at 2pm.