To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 24 November 2020.
The minutes of the meeting held on 24 November 2020 were approved.
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.
Cllr Phil Awford declared an interest as Chair of the National Flood Forum and as a representative for the Wessex/Severn Wye at the Regional Flood Defence Committee.
To consider the attached update report.
4.1 The Chair invited Philip Williams, Lead Commissioner – Community Infrastructure, to present this update report. Members noted the following points:
· This report was a follow on update from the draft Gloucestershire Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) strategy members considered at their meeting in March 2020.
· The Electric Vehicle (EV) infrastructure rollout had been impacted by Covid as resource from the department had to be diverted to other areas. Atkins were therefore approached last summer and additional resource was procured to help support the rollout going forward.
· This report summarised the work that had been ongoing during the Covid pandemic and the next steps.
· There had been continued learning from networking with other local authorities and electricity suppliers in the south west. The Energy Savings Trust also provided useful challenge on the Strategy during discussions on funding.
· The team had been working closely with GCC’s procurement department to understand how the new Dynamic Purchasing System for the Council would work for this Strategy. They had also explored how to make sure the procurement contract was available for other local authorities and bodies in Gloucestershire to use so they did not have to go through the lengthy process GCC has had to.
· The next stage was for the lead Cabinet Member to decide whether or not to adopt the Strategy as it was, which would then enable officers to begin the tender process.
4.2 It was questioned how long after the decision from Cabinet would the rollout begin. It was advised once the Strategy had been approved; it would only be a few months. The rollout would be done in phases, and would depend on the levels of funding received from central Govt. through the procurement process. Unlike many other councils however, GCC had been investing its own money in this project for some time. This therefore gave us leverage to secure more Government grant funding and also with the charging companies in terms of where charging points would be installed.
4.3 Feedback from the Committee and experts had steered the first stage of the rollout to focus on areas where there was the greatest on-street residential demand for charging points. It was stressed therefore that even though the rollout may appear to focus on towns in the first instance, this did not mean the more rural areas would be forgotten. There were requirements attached to the grant funding from Govt. and we also had to be mindful of equitable access. Members were reminded that the EV charging market was vast and GCC was only one part of the overall rollout.
4.4 It was added that the rollout had to be organic, what we needed to avoid was starting with a list of locations and a roadmap rollout of 200 charging points, as by the time we got to completing the list the demand locations would have changed. The level of take up had increased dramatically in the past few years and we need to be able to respond in a ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Colin Chick, Executive Director of Economy, Environment & Infrastructure to update the Committee on current issues.
5.1 Colin Chick, Executive Director of Economy, Environment and Infrastructure, updated the Committee on current issues. In particular, members noted that:
· M5 J10 had completed its public consultation which ran from October – November last year, the process of land acquisition for the project had started and it aimed to secure as much in advance as possible, hoping for a Preferred Route Announcement in spring 2021.
· The Highways contracts continued to move forward, regardless of any implications of the third lockdown, although the team had been heavily impacted by the recent flooding events and need for increased gritting delivery.
· Phases 3 and 4 of the West Cheltenham project were due to go on site through this third lockdown. Additional work had been needed to reduce the risk of Covid transmission on site.
· Positive early feedback from parents and children about the School Streets pilots in Tewkesbury and in Warden Hill (Cheltenham).
· The funding pot for the B4603 project was almost there, it was about £1.5m short but there were a number of funding options to consider.
· Unfortunately the M5 J9 scheme had returned to negotiation on scheme options due to a last minute challenge from Highways England on the chosen option.
5.2 A member raised the ongoing issue of flooding on the A417 to Maisemore, noting that the closure of this road was happening more frequently and was having a considerable impact on residents and businesses. It was questioned whether a prevention scheme could be added to the Local Transport Plan for future considering. The cabinet member responsible encouraged the member to raise this in a question at the next Cabinet meeting.
5.3 Noting at 4.1 that the current rail strategy was published in March 2020, a member questioned whether there was a plan to update this soon. It was advised that with the strategy being only 9 months old, officers would not be looking to update it yet. It had been very useful in driving recent improvements to the rail services in the county, with the metro service to Gloucester going live at the end of this year. Members noted the need to keep pressure on rail companies post-Covid to reinstate the level of service Gloucestershire had before, as it was possible to become stuck in a cycle of residents not using services due to their infrequency and rail companies therefore feeling the demand was not there to justify increasing them.
5.4 Further detail was requested regarding the failure to secure funds mentioned at 4.11. It was explained that GCC could request two forms of funding from developers for housing – Section 106 and CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy). As the latter did not generally go towards education/library facilities, the section 106 contributions were vital for being able to provide this infrastructure. What GCC were beginning to experience however was developers (or district councils in some cases) refusing to pay the section 106 monies due to a misunderstanding of where the CIL contributions would go.
5.5 Officers informed that GCC ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To review the Committee’s work plan for its next meeting.
6.1 The Committee reviewed the work plan for their final meeting in March 2021 (attached). The tentative item on flooding had been suggested at the meeting in November in relation to an issue specifically on the more frequent flooding of the A417 at Maisemore.
6.2 In light of recent flood events across the county in December, it was stressed by several members that this item should be expanded to include urgent consideration of these events. Members were aware that flood events in December 2020 had been from surface water run off, and were therefore different to those normally experienced in Gloucestershire from river overflow.
6.3 Members and officers noted a commitment made at the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee for a scrutiny task group to be formed to specifically review the events of the December floods, and they wanted to be mindful that the Committee were not duplicating work that was already ongoing elsewhere.
6.4 Officers requested to take this away as an action to understand the remit of the task group request, and where, as the lead scrutiny committee for flooding, this Committee would be involved.
6.5 The Chair concluded that it was the Committee’s will overall to receive a report reviewing the flood events in December 2020, subject to advice from officers on other ongoing avenues of work. Members were all in agreement that this was a very urgent and important piece of work that needed to take priority on behalf of all residents who had been affected.
ACTION: DSU / Colin Chick / Simon Excell
6.6. There was a request for an item to be considered at a future Committee meeting on the climate change impacts of cabinet decisions at GCC. Officers advised this work was ongoing and it would be feasible to bring a report on this to a future meeting.
ACTION: Philip Williams / DSU