Agenda and minutes

Environment Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday 12 January 2022 10.00 am

Items
No. Item

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 123 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 29 November 2021.

 

TO FOLLOW

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 29 November 2021 were approved.

3.

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 received.

4.

Motion 876 pdf icon PDF 4 MB

The Committee initially considered this motion at its meeting in September 2020. As a result of that discussion, a number of actions were noted.

 

The attached report outlines a response to those actions for the Committee to consider.

Minutes:

4.1       The Chair invited Liz Kirkham, Network Manager for GCC, to present this update report. Members noted the following:

 

·         Members had already scrutinised, at length, the officer response to Motion 876 and this report provided an update on progress since.

·         There had been significant developments in GCC’s approach to road safety in recent months, with the establishment of the Road Safety Forum and the Cabinet commitment of £300,000 to support community speed watch and wider road safety activities.

·         In addition, the new draft Council Strategy included the intention to deliver safer roads, healthier streets and lowering of speed limits to deliver Vision Zero by 2050.

·         Officers in the road safety team were currently working to develop a new Road Safety Policy for GCC, which would include any future policy on 20mph. It would therefore be better to establish the aims and objectives of the overall Policy, before progressing the approach to 20mph limits/zones.

·         Section 2.2 of the report showed the feedback from district, town, and parish councils. There was nearly a 50% response rate which was very good and showed the strong feeling of this issue amongst communities. The responses included a lot of useful information for GCC to consider.

·         There had recently been more of a supportive response from the police on the wider use of 20mph which would be key in any future policy.

·         It was currently estimated that it would cost between £6-8 million to rollout widespread 20mph, this had not been looked into in depth and would depend on the level of safety measures each scheme would require.

Questions

 

4.2       Members were encouraged by the report, thanking officers for their time and efforts in this area, as well as the recent updated response from the police.

4.3       It was advised that the public consultation mentioned would be a consultation on the whole of the Road Safety Policy, which would include, but not be limited, to feedback on the future of 20mph schemes. Officers had requested to bring the Policy to scrutiny in May as part of that consultation process.

4.4       A member questioned what the cost at 2.7.3 reflected, was this a wide area speed limit roll out or the cost of adding additional signage etc. It was advised that the figure of £6-8m reflected a very broad estimate of 20mph speed limit roll out after the policy was in place, taking account of the additional measures/engineering works that could be required. It was stressed that finance could not be properly identified until GCC had confirmed its Road Safety Policy and had agreed on a way forward in respect of 20mph speed/zones. As in any other situation, the resource implications of any new Policy would require political sign off.

4.5       It was added that to deliver a widespread policy of this scale would take time. Once the Policy was agreed, officers would need to review and prioritise works (taking into account any budget restrictions and data on accident records etc.). Until all of this had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

E-scooters pdf icon PDF 7 MB

To receive an update on the E-scooters pilot scheme in Gloucestershire from Zwings.

Minutes:

5.1       The Chair invited Joe Lewin, CEO, and Alex Bowes, Head of Public Authorities, at Zwings to present this item, Members noted the following points:

 

·         Slide 3 gave an overview of the background to the trial, why e-scooters were introduced to the county and the benefits the concept as a whole was looking to bring to the UK.

·         E-scooters were one of a few ‘micromobility’ (a range of small, lightweight vehicles operating at speeds typically below 25 km/h and driven by users personally. Micromobility devices include bicycles, e-bikes, electric scooters, electric skateboards, shared bicycles, and electric pedal assisted bicycles) concepts that were being looked into across the UK to help decarbonise transport and offer alternative ways for short-medium trips, especially in urban cities.

·         There were many benefits already being seen, the demand for e-scooters was much higher than other forms of micromobility already, and they had a particularly positive impact on residents health, being able to travel outdoors and see people etc. especially prevalent during lockdown.

·         The scheme was DfT led and had been introduced across the country during the Pandemic to try and kick-start green economies, as well as ease pressure on public transport.

·         The vehicles were still under a trial period where all relevant data would be collected and reviewed after November 2022 when government would decide whether they would continue.

·         Slide 5 showed a screenshot from the Zwings app showing operational areas for the scooters. If they entered a red area, the power would cut out and an alarm sound asking the user to return to an operational area. The permissible areas shown were the only areas in the county that e-scooters could legally be used on public land, and the slow speed-zones allowed further flexibility on speed capping in high populated areas.

·         Zwings used a regulated parking bay model, unlike the ‘free-floating’ approach seen in some other trials nationally. The team were extremely keen on fulfilling the overwhelming demand from residents for their rental e-scooters.

·         It was recognised that residents in areas further out of town that did not have immediate access to a parking bay also needed a convenient and sustainable alternative to driving a car. As such, Zwings was exploring enhancing their parking system by possibly trialling a model where riders can be incentivised to park in certain areas but have the flexibility of scooting closer to their home, rather than being forced to park in a bay a 15 minute walk from their homes.

·         Slide 7 outlined the trial positives so far. Zwings had been operational in Cheltenham and Gloucester for 15 months and had around 45,000 users, which compared to the resident population in the limited areas of operation, was a huge proportion.

·         They had grown from 40/50 scooters in the first few weeks to now 350 across the service area, with more and more parking bays becoming available. Studies had shown that residents only needed to be about 200 metres from a parking bay to decide to take their  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Work Plan pdf icon PDF 45 KB

To review the committee work plan and suggest items for consideration at future meetings.

Minutes:

Members noted the future items in the attached work plan and suggested the

following to be added:

 

·         An update on the Electric Vehicle charging points rollout to be considered in May.

·         A future item on strategic planning in the county.

7.

Restoring our Rivers Task Group

To note a verbal update from the Chair of the Restoring our Rivers Task Group.

Minutes:

This item was deferred to March due to Cllr Awford being unable to attend the meeting.