Agenda and minutes

E&T Select Committee, Environment & Transport Select Committee
Thursday, 12 March 2015 10.30 am

Venue: Ashcombe Suite, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DN

Contact: Huma Younis or George Foster 

Items
No. Item

11/15

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

12/15

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING: 22 JANUARY 2015 pdf icon PDF 146 KB

13/15

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

    To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests from Members in respect of any item to be considered at the meeting.

     

    Notes:

    ·    In line with the Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012, declarations may relate to the interest of the member, or the member’s spouse or civil partner, or a person with whom the member is living as husband or wife, or a person with whom the member is living as if they were civil partners and the member is aware they have the interest.

    ·    Members need only disclose interests not currently listed on the Register of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests.

    ·    Members must notify the Monitoring Officer of any interests disclosed at the meeting so they may be added to the Register.

    ·    Members are reminded that they must not participate in any item where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest.

    Minutes:

    There were none.

     

14/15

QUESTIONS AND PETITIONS

    To receive any questions or petitions.

     

    Notes:

    1.  The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (Friday 6 March 2015).

    2.  The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting (Thursday 5 March 2015).

    3.  The deadline for petitions was 14 days before the meeting, and no petitions have been received.

    Minutes:

    There were none.

     

15/15

RESPONSES FROM THE CABINET TO ISSUES REFERRED BY THE SELECT COMMITTEE

16/15

RECOMMENDATION TRACKER AND FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 182 KB

17/15

UTILITIES TASK GROUP RECOMMENDATIONS AND SOUTH EAST PERMIT SCHEME (SEPS): UPDATE REPORT pdf icon PDF 625 KB

    Purpose of the report:  Policy Development and Review

     

    The Select Committee is asked to review the further progress made on the recommendations of the Task Group, and to also review the performance of the South East Permit Scheme, to improve the co-ordination and quality of work of utilities companies in Surrey.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Kevin Orledge, Streetworks Team Manager

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    Members drew attention to paragraph 20, recommendation 4f, of page 22, which proposes exploring the idea of the potential for the collation of a limited central store of specialist surfacing materials by Surrey County Council. Members expressed the opinion that this was financially and logistically impractical. Officers agreed that this recommendation was impractical and informed the Committee that a condition stating that utilities were responsible for sourcing and replacing materials to a high standard was a viable approach.

     

    2.    Members raised the concern, with regards to paragraph 20, that utilities have not displayed enough impetus to replace the right materials and that there needs to be additional pressure applied. An increase in inspections was recognised by the Committee, but officers were asked for the figures surrounding this. Officers assured the Committee that applying a condition to a permit is enforceable, as the non-compliance of a condition on a permit is an offence. Officers informed the Committee that utility inspection figures would be presented to the Committee at a later date.

     

    3.    The Chairman of the Committee asked officers if it would be practical to inform Members when a notice is issued to a utility. Officers were also questioned over what the fixed penalties were. Officers informed the Committee that the fixed penalty was £80 and if this is not paid £120 then if not paid this is a criminal offence. The Chairman, along with other Members, felt this fixed penalty is low and expressed the need to apply pressure through media platforms. In addition, officers, along with some Members, informed the Committee that a bulletin on Highways and Utilities works was circulated around Surrey’s local authorities; he accepted there was scope for enhancing this. This was welcomed by the Chairman who added that the bulletin should specify if these works are in conservation areas.

     

    4.    The Vice Chairman of the Committee asked officers if it would be possible to add a requirement for utilities to provide before and after photos when either digging up or reinstating. Officers stated that measures of this nature are not enforceable.

     

    5.    Officers informed the Committee that a maximum of 10% of utilities works could be inspected, but highlighted a need to update the specification for areas of work that were deemed non-standard. Members agreed there was a need to designate important areas. The Chairman of the Select Committee questioned officers over what percentage of the 10% is carried out within conservation areas. Officers informed the Committee that, as part of statute set out within the code of practice, inspections were random. Officers added that any extra inspections could be designated to conservation areas.

     

    6.    Members questioned officers over whether a red, amber, green status on utilities reinstatements might be a useful way of pressuring companies. It was also suggested that a Memorandum of Agreement that companies have to sign up to might also help.

     

    7.    Officers informed the Committee that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17/15

18/15

BASINGSTOKE CANAL UPDATE REPORT pdf icon PDF 128 KB

    Purpose of the report:  Scrutiny of Services

     

    To inform Members on the progress made in ensuring the safety and sustainable future of the Basingstoke Canal.

     

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Lisa Creaye-Griffin, Countryside Group Manager

     

    James Taylor, Strategic Manager- Basingstoke Canal

     

    Philip Riley, Basingstoke Canal Society

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.   The Chairman of the Committee informed Members that the Canal is unusual in that it is not fed by a reservoir but by rainfall. He questioned officers over what happens to the surplus rainfall. Officers told the Committee that the Canal was designed without a reservoir as a cost saving measure and that especially during winter the Canal experiences high levels of runoff water which is discharged into the river network lower down the Canal through locks and sluices. The Chairman of the Basingstoke Canal Society added that back-pumping, a system involving the recycling of water aided by pumping mechanisms, is an option being explored for tackling water flow issues on the Canal in the future.

     

    2.   Members commented on how interesting the slides about the Basingstoke Canal were and asked that they be circulated among Members.

     

    3.    Members asked officers about the role Mychett Lake plays in the Canal’s water supply. Officers informed the Committee that because Mychett Lake is connected directly to the Canal, water levels cannot be attenuated independently in the lake and it is therefore not currently useful as a water supply. Officers added that the construction of a secondary bund separating the lake and Canal is a future option for tackling this.

     

    4.   The Vice Chairman questioned officers over whether, in a time of austerity, the Canal should be a priority for funding. Officers along with other Members of the Committee expressed the view that the Canal is an asset for local residents which is highlighted by the large number of people that visit the Canal on a regular basis and whom benefit from increased health and wellbeing as a result of what the Canal has to offer. Members stated that the Canal plays a strategic role in Surrey’s flood risks. Officers echoed this point whilst adding that there is potential for income generation from managing water runoff.

     

    5.   Members asked when the report being carried out by JBA Consulting, as reference in paragraph 26 of the report, is likely to be expected. Officers informed the Committee that it is expected next month and this will be used to assess the Canal’s future options.

     

    6.   One Member reiterated the view that the Canal is an asset by stating that water leisure is one of the fastest growing industries, but expressed the need to develop a business plan and find a partner that could bring expertise and finance. Along with this is the need to define exactly how much land comes with the Canal; it was suggested that commissioning some students to map the Canal’s land ownership might be a useful project. This idea was recognised by officers as an opportunity they would look into. 

     

    7.   A Member made the point that the plan to regenerate the Basingstoke Canal Centre was interesting but underplays itself, as £3 average spend per person  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18/15

19/15

LOCAL TRANSPORT REVIEW pdf icon PDF 4 MB

    Purpose of the report: Policy Development and Review

     

    To inform the Select Committee on the outputs from the public consultation on the Local Transport Review.

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Paul Millin, Travel and Transport Group Manager

     

    Laurie James, Bus Service Planning Team Manager

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. Members congratulated officers on the level of communication and work surrounding the consultation.

     

    1. The Committee discussed whether it might be useful to see the questions that those taking part in the consultation were asked, so that the responses can be gauged.

     

    1. Members questioned officers over the cost of concession passes. Officers responded by stating that the cost of concession fares are relatively low when compared with the positive impact it has on the wider community; this was a clear conclusion drawn from the consultation.

     

    1. Some Members expressed the feeling that the report was too focused on urban development. Officers responded to this by stating that it was essential to develop the more commercially viable sites so that they can help support the sites that are less commercially viable but still essential to local residents.

     

    1. Members enquired as to whether the increased level of public transport information had had a direct impact on user numbers. Officers responded by stating that real time information could not individually be attributed to rises in users, as this has been introduced with various other improvements. However, along with the other improvements user numbers have risen.

     

    1. One Member asked if officers have looked into smaller buses for quieter routes or times of the day. Officers informed the Committee that the idea of different sized vehicles had been analysed and the current system was seen to be the most economical.   

     

    Recommendations:

     

    The Environment and Transport Select Committee;

     

    a)    noted the outputs from the public consultation.

     

     

    Actions/Further information to be provided:

    ·         For the Scrutiny Officer to send the committee the PowerPoint presentation shown at the meeting.

    Committee Next steps:

    None

     

20/15

DATE OF NEXT MEETING