To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 15 July and 23 September 2020.
The minutes of the meeting held on 15 July and 23 September 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.
4.1 The Chair first introduced Cllr Moor (Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning) to provide their opening remarks.
4.2 Cllr Moor first provided an apology to the Committee for the late publication of this. Officers had been balancing a significant workload in recent months, not limited to an annual report on the climate change response for Cabinet in December and applying for a Government bid for the decarbonisation of heat in public sector buildings.
4.3 In response to the noticeable shortfall in capacity, the Cabinet Member and Executive Director had started a recruitment programme for the department to help manage the growing workload and provide sufficient capacity to respond Committee business in a more timely manner going forward.
4.4 The report attached set out an assessment on the impact of the first lockdown, and tried to draw some conclusions from that. It also gave a review of where we were in our response to the climate emergency. Cabinet were due to consider this as part of the Gloucestershire Climate Change Strategy Annual Report and Action Plan 2021/22-2026/27 in December.
4.5 The Chair next invited Cllr Haigh, the proposer of the motion to present to the Committee. Members were reminded that the original motion had proposed for the item to be discussed at Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, as climate change affected the work of the whole Council and all Cabinet Members’ portfolios, not just the environmental agenda. Concern was also raised about the lack of public consultation on this report.
4.6 In reference to strategy and policy, it was easy to see how introducing cycle paths and encouraging walking would help to tackle the climate agenda, but things such as reassessing the way we delivered care in the county, to avoid professionals having to travel vast distances everyday remained a challenge.
4.7 The original thread of this motion had hoped to address these more radical and wide ranging changes that could be made. If the Council were serious about addressing concerns of the original motion, a far wider discussion would be needed. The proposer would welcome this Committee to endorse what was in the report but to also push the motion back to all portfolio holders and build the climate change agenda into everything that we do.
4.8 The Chair finally introduced Peter Wiggins, Outcome Manager – Sustainability, to present the report.
4.9 The officer started by offering a personal apology to Members of the Committee for the delay in sharing this report. It was recognised that late submission of reports reduce the preparation time members had.
4.10 In responding to Cllr Haigh’s concerns, it was advised that whilst officers had not directly consulted the public, the report did draw on other public consultation from around the country and within the county (e.g. Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust). In addition, the report referred to other relevant key strategies, including the Gloucestershire Climate Change strategy which was within the remit of all services of the Council to have regard for, as well as ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Colin Chick, Executive Director of Economy, Environment & Infrastructure to update the Committee on current issues. To include an update on Motion 787: Pavements and Quarter 2 2020/21 performance data.
5.1 Colin Chick, Executive Director of Economy, Environment and Infrastructure, updated the Committee on current issues. In particular, members noted that:
· Services were dealing with going back into national lockdown restrictions and new challenges of protecting frontline staff through the winter e.g. gritting workers.
· On 16 December 2020, GCC signed the GDA with Homes England to secure £250m for M5 J10. The Cabinet had also approved the use of CPO for land acquisition if the project required further down the line.
· The Highways skills academy continued to be really successful, with apprenticeship positions now increasing up to 20.
· The ambition bid of £10.5m for the Tranche 2 of the Emergency Active Travel Fund (EATF) had unfortunately only resulted in £864,750 being awarded.
· Improvements on the A419 were now complete.
· The ITU team continued to work closely with schools to ensure the services were running safely. This had been an incredibly difficult area to bring back online after the first lockdown. The services had however continued to run through the second lockdown.
· E-scooters were proving to be very successful and providers were happy with the current usage.
· The footways spend update requested at 3.8.
· There were some last minute concerns from DfT of the M5 J9 improvement options, which should be going to consultation in January 2021.
· The LTP was being presented to Cabinet in January and full Council in March next year.
· Early feedback on the new booking system used at HRCs was very positive and many residents want to system to be permanent.
· The Quarter 2 2020/21 performance scorecard showed green stars on all services which reflected the hard work and dedication of officers tackling the challenges from the pandemic.
5.2 It was queried whether officers had considered looking at transport waste by water, due to the number of water courses in Gloucestershire. It was advised that it was a difficult concept as the cost would go up quite dramatically and it would require double/triple handling, but potentially worth looking at in some circumstances.
5.3 Referencing the recent Tranche 2 EATF funding allocation, it was questioned how this money would now be allocated. It was advised that the amount would all be put towards building a pot for the B4603 cycle scheme. GCC did not want to lose the leverage they had for this scheme and still hoped to deliver the cycle route as soon as possible. The scheme would provide a solid backbone to connect existing and new cycle routes throughout the county.
5.4 A member was glad to see that the London Road cycle scheme had progressed regardless of parking concerns. They were however concerned about the removal of the speed camera and reported they had witnessed speeding which raised an issue of safety for cyclists using the new cycle lane. Officers confirmed once the scheme was in properly, they would be doing a full review of it and will look at things such as speeding. There was no plan at the moment to reinstall the speed ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To review the committee work plan and suggest items for consideration at future meetings. (Work plan attached).
6.1 The Committee noted the additional meeting for 9 December in order to consider the urgent motion referred from Council.
6.2 It was agreed that the 2021 work plan would be discussed at the next meeting.