Agenda and minutes

Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday 17 January 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Cabinet Suite - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Contact: Laura Powick 

Items
No. Item

45.

Apologies

To note any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllrs Stephen Hirst and Keith Rippington.

 

There were no substitutions at the meeting.

46.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 160 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 22 November 2017.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 22 November 2017 were approved and signed by the Chairman.

47.

Declarations of Interest

Members of the Committee are invited to declare any pecuniary or personal interests relating to specific matters on the agenda.

 

Please see note (a) at the end of the agenda

 

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made.

48.

Motion 798: Gloucestershire Flood and Community Resilience pdf icon PDF 139 KB

To receive a report on Gloucestershire flood and community resilience.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

David Parish, Strategic Flood Risk Management Officer, and John Beard, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, presented a report to the Committee on Gloucestershire flood and community resilience.

 

Motion 798: Gloucestershire Flood and Community Resilience was referred to the Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee by full Council at its meeting in September 2017. The Committee considered the motion on 20 September 2017 and agreed that a report outlining Gloucestershire’s flood resilience, Gloucestershire’s role as lead local flood authority, and how the flood levy had been used, would be presented at the Committee meeting on 17 January 2018.

 

Cllr Kate Haigh, as proposer of the motion, attended the meeting to contribute to the debate.

 

The Committee was advised on how flood risk had been managed since the severe flooding experienced in the County in July 2007, and recognised that there had been over £98 million of public and private investment in Gloucestershire flood alleviation projects over the last ten years.

 

The Committee was informed of the Council’s responsibilities as lead local flood authority, noting, in particular, that the Council was a statutory consultee to the planning process for major developments. It was also noted that the Council offered a free pre-application advisory service for developers.

 

In response to a query, it was explained that the Council would be consulted during the development of Joint Core Strategy local plans.

 

In response to a further query, it was estimated that the Council’s advice on developers’ proposals was accepted and followed for the majority of applications.

 

The strategies that had been implemented to improve local resilience to flooding were highlighted to members, in particular, that improvements had been made to the Emergency Management Centre and rest centres, and that community resilience had been promoted through an information booklet and website.

 

Members discussed the report in detail, and recognised that Gloucestershire’s flood resilience had improved significantly since 2007. It was felt that communities were better prepared and more aware of flooding now than in 2007, and several members thanked officers at the Council and from partner agencies for their work to develop schemes to protect local communities from flooding.

 

Several members highlighted the work that had been carried out by district councils to improve resilience to flooding, including policies to address flood risk in planning applications.

 

Although significant progress had been made to improve the County’s resilience to flooding, the Committee recognised that further measures were required to protect homes that were still at risk from flooding. In response to a query, it was explained that flood alleviations schemes at Podsmead and Hucclecote were being investigated, which would protect a number of those properties still at high risk.

 

In response to a further query, it was explained that funding opportunities for a scheme at Alney Island Nature Reserve were being considered.

 

The Committee noted that there was increasing interest in the development of upper catchment soft flood alleviation schemes, and that the Stroud Valleys Rural Sustainable Drainage project had received national recognition as a model of best  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.

49.

Road Safety Review pdf icon PDF 156 KB

To receive an update report on the Road Safety Review.

Minutes:

The Committee received an update from John Beard, Assistant Chief Fire Officer, on changes being made to the delivery of road safety initiatives. Following the withdrawal of the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner from the Road Safety Partnership in 2017, a review of road safety and related activities was carried out. The Committee was also informed that the review was an opportunity to consider the challenges facing Gloucestershire over the next five to ten years, and to ensure that road safety functions were integrated effectively to address these challenges.

 

There was a discussion regarding blue light collaboration. It was noted that there would be collaboration moving forward, and that the Gloucestershire Emergency Services Collaboration Governance Board had been established.

 

It was explained that changes to the delivery of road safety initiatives included mainstreaming road safety functions within the core work of the Council by relocating staff into the teams responsible for highways, integrated transport, and development management. A new ThinkTravel Coordinator post would be created to ensure that work streams across the teams were effective, and GFRS would continue to work with partners to explore and deliver educational packages.

 

In response to a query, it was noted that road safety liaison groups would not be affected by the changes.

 

There was also a query regarding the diversity of vehicles and road users.

 

The Committee noted that the review and all subsequent changes would be fully implemented by the end of the 2017/18 financial year.

 

50.

Chief Fire Officer Report pdf icon PDF 100 KB

The Committee to note a report from the Chief Fire Officer, detailing information on the portfolio of services provided by the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council.

Minutes:

Stewart Edgar, Chief Fire Officer, presented the report to the Committee, which detailed information on the portfolio of services provided by GFRS.

 

In particular, members were informed that GFRS was recruiting for retained and whole-time firefighters, and that they were currently at the final interview stage. It was hoped that between 10 and 14 whole-time firefighters would be recruited.

 

It was explained, in response to several queries from members, that one of the strategic aims for GFRS was to recruit firefighters that represented the diversity of local communities, and that the retention of whole-time firefighters was high. It was noted that the retention of retained firefighters was different, due to the level of commitment required for the role. There was also a discussion regarding the impact of the fire cadet programme on recruitment.

 

The Committee was advised that a consultation on the revised Fire and Rescue National Framework document had been launched on 27 December 2017, which ended on 14 February 2018. It was agreed that the submission from GFRS  to the consultation would be circulated with Committee members.

 

In an update on Trading Standards, it was explained that the Food Standards Agency had indicated that funding for inspections to determine the level of compliance at animal food manufacturers and production facilities was likely to be reduced in 2018. In response to a query, it was clarified that this would not affect the base budget for Trading Standards.

 

The Committee was informed of several recent fire incidents, which included a house fire in Cirencester and in Coney Hill, Gloucester. The Committee also discussed the Severn Trent water leak which affected homes in Tewkesbury on 15 December 2017, and was informed that a de-brief on the incident was being arranged.

51.

Commissioning Directors Report pdf icon PDF 243 KB

Nigel Riglar, Commissioning Director: Communities and Infrastructure to update the Committee on current issues.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Nigel Riglar, Commissioning Director: Communities and Infrastructure, updated the Committee on current issues. In particular, members noted that:

 

a)    In an update on highway maintenance, there was likely to be an overspend due to the impact of the weather experienced this winter on the roads, however it was likely that this would be contained within the overall Communities budget;

b)    A piece of work to assess the impact of the collapse of Carillion in Gloucestershire had been undertaken, and had concluded that there was no direct impact on projects being carried out by the Council;

c)    The Council was currently out to tender for a replacement Park and Ride Service in Cheltenham, and that the Committee would be updated on progress with the procurement process at a future meeting;

d)    The Capital Programme for 2017/18 was under pressure due to contractual claims in relation to Cinderford Northern Quarter and Berkeley Bridges, and unexpected emergency repairs. This had resulted in all remaining bridge and drainage schemes being deferred into the 2018/19 financial year;

e)    Highways England was about to commence the next round of works at M5 Junction 11; and

f)     The Council was focussing on three cycling infrastructure projects moving forward, which included a cycling route between Tewkesbury and South Gloucestershire, the Cheltenham to Bishops Cleeve Cycle Link, and the Gloucester to Cheltenham Cycle Route.

 

The Committee was also informed about the Rural-Urban Outlooks – Unlocking Synergies (ROBUST) project, which was a European research project being delivered by a consortium of 24 research institutes, local and regional authorities.  The overall goal of ROBUST was to advance understanding of the interactions and dependencies between rural, peri-urban and urban areas, and to identify and promote policies, governance models and practices that foster mutually beneficial relations. Gloucestershire was one of the settings for the research, and Gloucestershire County Council and the University of Gloucestershire’s Countryside and Community Research Institute were amongst the partners in the consortium.  The project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and would run for four years from June 2017.

 

Members asked questions, in particular, regarding the A417 Missing Link, the procurement of lower emission buses for the replacement Park and Ride Service in Cheltenham, Traffic Regulation Orders, local bus services, the LED Street Lighting Project, and the Lengthsmen scheme.

 

Following a discussion on the Great Western Rail franchise consultation, it was agreed that the draft response from the Council to the consultation would be circulated with Committee members for their comments, following the Lead Cabinet Member meeting on 5 February 2018.

 

Members were also updated on the Air Pollution and its Impact on Public Health Task Group, noting that a positive and informative Air Pollution Stakeholder Workshop had taken place on 16 January 2018, the outcomes of which would inform the recommendations of the Task Group.

 

The Committee noted the report.

52.

Work Plan pdf icon PDF 54 KB

To review the committee work plan and suggest items for consideration at future meetings. (Work plan attached).

Minutes:

The Committee would receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Highways and Flood on measures to improve the inspection and fixing of pavements, as part of the Committee’s consideration of Motion 787: Pavements, and an update on progress with the A429 Task Group recommendations, at its meeting on 7 March 2018.

 

It was proposed that items on the A417 Missing Link and on the libraries review be considered at an upcoming meeting, and that an item on the Dynamic Purchasing System for Transport be added to the work plan for consideration at a future meeting. The Air Pollution and its Impact on Public Health Task Group would also be reporting at either the May or July 2018 meeting.

53.

Future meetings

7 March 2018

9 May 2018

11 July 2018

19 September 2018

7 November 2018

Minutes:

The Committee noted the meeting dates for the remainder of 2018.