Agenda and minutes

Environment Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday 15 January 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Committee Room - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

To note any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllrs John Cordwell, Stephen Hirst and Suzanne Williams.

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 115 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 26 November 2019.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting on 26 November 2019 were approved and signed by the Chair.

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 made.

4.

A429 Task Group Update pdf icon PDF 183 KB

To note the attached update report on progress made to date.

Minutes:

4.1       The Chair invited Kath Haworth, Lead Commissioner, to present the report.

 

4.2       Members were advised that this is the second update that the Committee have received on this item; it was last presented at Committee in March 2018. This report intended to give Members an update on progress to date.

 

4.3       The Committee were reminded that the task group was initially prompted due to concerns about the strategic nature of the A429 noting its importance for linking the north and south of the County. The task group explored a number of aspects including safety and the level of development of the route, potential opportunities for addressing concerns such as the level of freight use and its close links with neighbouring authorities due to its position.

 

4.4       The following points were noted:

 

·         Recommendation 1: completed at the time, there is no further update.

·         Recommendation 2: it had been concluded that the likelihood of reclassification of the A429 was very low and October 2019’s publication of the report “A Major Road Network for England” did not include the A429 as a trunk road.

It had been agreed that attention should focus instead on managing HGV traffic and capacity issues that are GCC control and influence, rather than campaigning for reclassification.

Officers await feedback on the draft Local Transport Plan Review (LTPR) which includes a section on freight.

·         Recommendation 3: completed and the data had been used to inform discussion on a proposed lorry ban in Burford.

·         Recommendation 4: details noted from the report.

·         Recommendation 5: looking at countywide analysis of accident data, the A429 was not providing sufficient evidence to support a reduced speed limit enforcement across the whole route. As an alternative, GCC have been in discussions with the police about increasing speed enforcement along the route to manage existing limits.

·         Recommendation 6: details noted from the report.

·         Recommendation 7: details noted from the report.

·         Recommendation 8: details noted from the report.

4.5       Cllr Moor, Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, thanked the highways team for their work to date and detailed report. It was highlighted that the White Young Green report would be useful for all members to look at as it may give ideas to members for approaching similar highways issues in their area. The report would provide good guidance and an established priority for a number of years.

 

Questions

 

4.6       A member queried the figures on appendix A of the report relating to the removal of a footway (£30,000) and VAS sign at bridge (£70,000). It was advised that this was not the costs of the schemes but the contributions that had been made available to address the issue. Once the final solution had been agreed, the funds would be ready to implement.

 

4.7       There was concern raised about the availability of public consultation sessions for the LTPR. It was agreed that the member and relevant officer would discuss this further after the meeting.

 

4.8       In relation to the accident ‘hotspots data’ mentioned in regard to recommendation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Electric Vehicle Infrastructure pdf icon PDF 244 KB

To receive a presentation on Electric Vehicle Infrastructure in Gloucestershire.

Minutes:

5.1       The Chair invited Philip Williams, Lead Commissioner for Community Infrastructure, to present the item.

 

5.2       It had been highlighted at the start of the meeting that one of the actions from the previous Committee was for a written brief to be produced for members in advance of today’s item.

 

5.3       It was explained that due to the complex nature of this issue, officers had been unable to produce a briefing note. The purpose for today’s presentation would be to inform the Committee of the most up to date position.

 

5.4       Members were informed that there had been a lot of market engagement work undertaken to understand the most useful contribution the Council could make in supplying electric vehicle infrastructure, whilst also making the best use of public funds. They were keen to take a position of ‘filling in the gaps’ rather than duplicating what the private sector was offering.

 

5.5       Page 20 of the report pack outlined other strategic policies the Council needed to align with locally and nationally for this strategy to work well. This highlighted the large overlap between planning for the infrastructure and other ongoing strategic plans.

 

5.6       The strategy would also aim to help GCC achieve its local objectives as outlined on page 21.

 

5.7       Members noted the need to enable individuals and businesses to be able to afford to invest in electric vehicles. At the moment, as they are new on the market, they are very expensive to buy/lease. It was suggested that as the technology and infrastructure caught up, individuals would develop more confidence investing in electric vehicles and the costs would begin to reduce.

 

5.8       It was emphasised the need for a flexible strategy that did not cause risk to the Council’s spending, as well as needing to be easily adaptable to take advantage of emerging technologies as the industry progressed.

 

5.9       Members also acknowledged the importance of understanding the demand from the County’s residents. To look at the current ownership of petrol/diesel vehicles across the country, it is estimated there are 30 million conventionally fuelled cars on the road and 50,000 petrol/diesel pumps, or 1 petrol/diesel pump per 600 cars.

 

5.10    Some organisations have forecast that if each EV owner had a charger then the UK would need up to 25 million EV chargers by 2050, 2.6 million of which would be in public locations. This would require 2300 chargers to be installed across the UK every day to address demand if everyone switched to an electric vehicle. Other organisations have produced much lower forecasts.

 

5.11    There were also differing views across the industry on how many of these chargers would need to be available in public places, on the highway, at petrol stations, on the street for residential homes or on private driveways.

 

5.12    Pages 22 and 23 outlined sources of financial support and the recommended areas of focus for GCC. It was highlighted as the highways authority, GCC were the only ones who could install on street charging, but  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Director's Report: Economy, Environment and Infrastructure pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Colin Chick, Director of Economy, Environment & Infrastructure to update the Committee on current issues.

Minutes:

6.1       Colin Chick, Director of Economy, Environment and Infrastructure, updated the Committee on current issues. In particular, members noted that:

·         The new contracts under Ringway and Atkins were now stabilised and running well.

·         There was an announcement due shortly on the new structural maintenance contract.

·         There were delays on the Gloucester South West Bypass scheme due to land acquisition issues and negotiations.

·         Only two out of the five advertised posts for the Highways Development team had been filled. It would suggest that due to the shortage of this particular skill base for a number of years now, the salaries for the higher positions were out of kilter with other local authorities.

·         In relation to the Climate Change Strategy, GCC were currently working hard across Gloucestershire to understand how to move forward in a joined up manner.

·         Work continued to finish the outline business case for Government on the Junction 9 scheme. It was highlighted that considering a year ago this scheme wasn’t being considered under any funding pot, there had been a lot of work behind the scenes to reach this stage.

·         Junction 10 scheme was still awaiting a decision from Government.

·         The Rail Strategy report will show the ground work for future improvements to the network. The further detail will be being discussed at the Gloucestershire Economic Growth Joint Committee with Chief Executives and Leaders from the six District Councils.

·         GCC will now become a formal partner of the JCS process from April 2020. The Council will have more influence in this position but members were reminded they were still only 1 of 4 around the table, and would not become a decision maker or planning authority.

·         Javelin Park was now generating electricity on a fairly standard basis but it has experienced a few stops during its monitoring. Therefore, at the moment, the electricity is being sold at a fluctuated market rate rather than locking into a contract until the electricity production is constant.

·         Cllr Nigel Moor, Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, advised members that the visitors centre at Javelin Park will be completed this month and an opportunity all members to visit the facility would be arranged in Spring 2020.

Questions

 

6.2       A member questioned whether, during the 2020 JCS process, there would be scope to revisit highways issues from previous planning applications. It was advised that the creation of the JCS will still be the responsibility of the district authorities and that GCC will be consulted to comment once a draft was available. This draft and any comments would be shared with members also.

 

6.3       It was stressed, that the consideration of highways issue in the JCS has been an ongoing issue for the Council and that it needed to be taken much more seriously. The problem beginning to present itself is that developments are layering around a ‘core’ which is an unsuitable use of land and does not allow sufficient access to public transport meaning cars are remaining a necessity.  Officers at GCC would prefer  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Work Plan pdf icon PDF 57 KB

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

Minutes:

7.1       Members noted the work plan items for the next meeting in March, and it was requested that the draft electric vehicles infrastructure strategy was added as a third item.

 

ACTION:       PHILLIP WILLIAMS

 

7.2       It was advised that following Cabinet’s approval of the Draft Local Transport Plan (LTP) Review, it would now launch into a public consultation on 16th January 2020. It was requested if an item could be brought to the May Committee meeting for members to review a summary of consultation responses. It was emphasised that there would not be a full revised document or consultation report available by this date however.

 

7.3       Members agreed that, as with the previous LTP item, this should take the form of a one item joint meeting with the Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee. It was confirmed that all Economic Growth Scrutiny members would be invited to attend in May alongside Environment Scrutiny members.

 

ACTION:       SIMON EXCELL/DEMOCRATIC SERVICES