Agenda and minutes

Economic Prosperity, Environment and Highways Board
Tuesday, 26 January 2016 10.30 am

Venue: Ashcombe, County Hall, Penrhyn Road, Kingston upon Thames, KT1 2DN

Contact: Huma Younis or Dominic Mackie, Room 122, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames 

Items
No. Item

1/16

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

2/16

MINUTES FROM THE PREVIOUS MEETING: 10 DECEMBER 2015 pdf icon PDF 158 KB

    To agree the previous minutes as a true record of the meeting.

     

    Minutes:

    Victoria Young commented that the minutes of the previous meeting required an amendment on her attendance. Upon this correction, the Board agreed the minutes as an accurate record of the meeting.

3/16

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 no declarations of interest.

4/16

QUESTIONS AND PETITIONS

    To receive any questions or petitions.

     

    Notes:

     

    · The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (20 January 2016).

     

    · The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting (19 January 2016).

     

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

    Minutes:

    There were no questions or petitions.

5/16

RECOMMENDATIONS TRACKER AND FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 7 KB

6/16

UPDATES FROM MEMBER REFERENCE GROUPS AND TASK GROUPS

    To receive a verbal update from the Board’s Task and Member Reference Groups.

    Minutes:

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    The spokesperson for the Customer Service Excellence Member Reference Group reported that there has been no meeting of the group; however when the next Project Horizon schemes are introduced the group plans to visit local businesses to gauge the impacts on businesses.

     

    2.    The spokesperson for the Basingstoke Canal Task Group reported that the group had not met as it was waiting for a business plan from officers.

     

    3.    The spokesperson for the Countryside Management Member Reference Group reported that the group had not met, however the content of this meeting covered the remit of the MRG.

     

    4.    The spokesperson for the Finance Sub Group informed the Board that the group had scheduled a meeting but this had been cancelled due to the changes in central government funding for the Council budget which meant there was not enough information to hold a finance meeting.

     

    5.    The spokesperson for the Highways for the Future Member Reference Group reported that the group was pleased that the Board endorsed the recommendations from its paper from the 10 December 2015 board meeting. The group will reconvene after the Cabinet meeting on 2 February 2016 to review the group’s role and assess it’s priorities going forward.

     

7/16

REFERRAL OF COUNTY COUNCIL MOTION pdf icon PDF 83 KB

    Purpose of the report:  To debate a County Council Motion which was referred to the Economic Prosperity, Environment and Highways Board for consideration.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None.

     

    Main Speakers:

     

    Cllr Hazel Watson (Mover of the Motion)

    Cllr Stephen Cooksey (Motion Seconder)

    Cllr Tim Hall, County Councillor

    Mr Richard Bolton, Local Highways Services Group Manager

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    The following motion was referred to the Board for consideration.

     

    '‘Council notes that when roads are surface dressed in order to prolong the life of roads by sealing them and to save money before a full resurfacing, the road surface becomes noisier for residents living nearby.

     

    This Council requests the Cabinet to amend its policy to take into account not just cost but also the quality of life of residents, including noise levels of different road surfaces when deciding on different types of materials and processes for surface dressing or full road resurfacing.’

     

    2.    Cllr Watson made the following points in support of her motion:

     

    ·         Highways laid a new road surface on a major road within her ward. After some years a preventative surface dressing scheme had caused a rise in noise level on the road.

    ·         That it was wrong to subject local residents to that level of noise.

    ·         That decisions on road surface treatments should be balanced on quality of life for residents as well as cost.

    ·         That the Council should adopt a similar policy to Lincolnshire County Council and Surrey County Council should accept that what has happened has had a detrimental effect on the quality of life to residents.

     

    3.    The motion was formally seconded by Cllr Cooksey, who reserved his right to speak.

     

    4.    Tim Hall, a Member for an adjacent ward was granted permission to speak by the Chairman and made the following points in support of the motion:

     

    ·         An example of ineffective road surface treatment was given by Mr Hall in relation to the Leatherhead Bypass; this was evidence that something had to be changed to current policy.

    ·         That criterion was not correctly being followed and that the surface treatment used in Cllr Watson’s case was perhaps not the right solution for the area.

     

    5.    The Local Highways Services Group Manager made the following points:

     

    ·         There were a number of prevention strategies in place and that one option was resurfacing.

    ·         A newly laid road surface has a negative texture surface, whereas following preventative surface dressing a road has a positive texture surface, and a positive texture surface causes more road noise.

    ·         The Highways industry has developed quieter road surfaces so the effects of road surface treatment makes the noise differential greater.

    ·         Preventative surface dressing can lengthen the life of an asset considerably.

    ·         A preventative scheme covers more surface area for cost compared to road resurfacing.

    ·         There were a number of materials used for surface treatment and decisions were made on geography, traffic flow and the quality of the road. Some materials were unsuitable for certain roads due to traffic volumes or speeds.

    ·         Engineers make assessments on noise, but decisions rely on officer judgement. There was no national guidance on noise levels for roads.

    ·         Road surface specification  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7/16

8/16

CUSTOMER SERVICE EXCELLENCE IN HIGHWAYS AND TRANSPORT pdf icon PDF 108 KB

    Purpose of the report:  To provide an update to the Economic Prosperity, Environment and Highways Board on the customer service within, and resident satisfaction relating to Surrey Highways & Transport and the work being undertaken to improve customer service through the Customer Service Excellence Standard.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None.

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Mike Dawson, Customer Service & Improvement Manager

    Richard Bolton, Local Highways Services Group Manager

    John Furey, Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Flooding

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    Officers outlined that Highways began its Customer Service Excellence journey in 2013. At that time Highways had the highest volume of Stage 1 complaints across County’s services, and Highways was considered as a major issue for Surrey residents.

     

    2.    Officers explained that the Customer Service Excellence accreditation is a mark of year-on-year improvement to customer service, using customer feedback to drive improvements. The Customer Service Excellence work was supported by the Board’s Customer Service Excellence Member Reference Group.

     

    3.    Highways were independently inspected in 2014 and retained the accreditation in 2015. Officers confirmed that work on improving customer services continues.

    4.    Officers highlighted that Highways was using customer feedback to help identify trends and future improvements to the service and cited results from a national survey, and results from Highway’s Customer Panel.

     

    5.    Officers explained that they were open to suggestions for driving improvements to their service for customers and that Officers were working on improvements previously identified at a Resident Experience Board meeting on Highways Customer Service Excellence.

    6.    Members queried whether collecting grass cuttings from the side of the highway could contribute positively to customer satisfaction as well as an improvement to recycling statistics.

     

    7.    Officers explained that although Highways was responsible for grass cutting, there was no authority that collects the grass. Collection of cuttings would result in substantial additional workforce and logistical costs, making the idea less financially viable.

     

    8.    Cabinet Member John Furey commented that current spending on grass verges was quite discretionary as Highways only needed to meet statutory safety requirements.

     

    Cabinet Member Mike Goodman arrived at 11.48am.

     

    9.    Members commented that residents were not aware of which authority is responsible for which Highways service and that clarity should be made around this. Members suggested that work should be done with the contact centre to clarify this at the first point of call.

    10.  Officers reported that Highways was in the process of reviewing its web pages and that the service had no target figure for ‘hits’ at the time. The Customer Service & Improvement Manager explained that the Community Partnership Team was currently working through the Customer Service Accreditation and both would be working together in the future.

    11.  Members commended the work of the Works Communication Team and requested an update into the review of the Dorking Project Horizon scheme. Officers confirmed that the Dorking Project Horizon works were discussed at the most recent Member Reference Group meeting, and that the group was awaiting the result of a survey.

     

    12.  A member of the Committee suggested that when surveys were put together comparisons should be made with similar sized authorities with similar landscapes, for example Hertfordshire.

     

    Recommendation:

     

    a)    The Board noted the report.

     

    Actions:

     

    None.

     

     

9/16

SUPERFAST BROADBAND UPDATE pdf icon PDF 87 KB

    Purpose of the report:   To provide an update to the Board on the delivery of fibre broadband infrastructure as part of the Superfast Surrey Programme.

     

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None.

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Graham Cook, Programme Manager, Superfast Surrey Broadband Programme.

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    The Chairman explained that the Superfast Surrey Broadband Programme would return to the agenda in April rather than March as previously scheduled.

     

    2.    The Programme Manager explained that Superfast Surrey Programme had reached the end of the main deployment phase and had provided Superfast Broadband to 86,000 Surrey properties from the intervention area drawn in 2012.

     

    3.    It was explained that the final months of the programme focussed on connecting properties that were more challenging; mostly rural homes. It was reported that these works were mostly complete however officers were ensuring completion before finally signing the work off.

    4.    It was reported that approximately 96% of Surrey had access to download speeds of 15Mb or higher, and expects a rise to 97% around 2018 if there is no further intervention in the market.

    5.    The Programme Manager and BT were waiting for the terms of the agreement between Broadband UK and the European Union to be renegotiated before further works could be carried out, however the Council was working with BT to identify potential areas for deployment within the original intervention area.

    6.    Members queried when it would be likely for residents to be included in future broadband programmes. The officer explained that until the EU agreement with Broadband UK had been signed, the OMR process and consultation could not start. It would be very difficult to put a date on timescales but this could potentially be months.

     

    Recommendation:

     

    a)    That the Board receives a progress report at its April 2016 board meeting.

     

    Actions:

     

    For the Scrutiny Officer to include this item on the forward work programme.

     

10/16

THE AGREEMENT BETWEEN SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL AND SURREY WILDLIFE TRUST TO MANAGE THE COUNTRYSIDE ESTATE pdf icon PDF 99 KB

    Purpose of the report:  This report updates the Board on the review of the Agreement between Surrey County Council (SCC) and Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) to manage the County Council’s Countryside Estate.  A decision report is going to the County Council’s Cabinet in February 2016.  This will set out the changes to the way the Agreement in managed, the commitment by SWT to reach a zero contribution from SCC by 2021 and the monitoring process put in place to ensure the service is delivered to the agreed standards.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None.

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Lisa Creaye-Griffin, Countryside Group Manager

    Ian Boast, Assistant Director for Environment

    Nigel Davenport, Chief Executive, Surrey Wildlife Trust

    Roger Wild, Director of Finance, Surrey Wildlife Trust

    Mark Pearson, Director of Countryside Management, Surrey Wildlife Trust

    Mike Goodman, Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning.

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    The Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning commented that Surrey Wildlife Trust were willing to engage and make amendments to their contract with Surrey County Council. He also commented that both parties had been on a long and difficult journey to reach an agreement but believed that both parties agreed on the same direction of travel.

    2.    Officers reported that a number of plans had been drawn up, with the key to success being the main business plan, monitoring progress via agreed key performance indicators, and applying the correct investment opportunities. It was also reported that Surrey Wildlife Trust were looking to create efficiencies from their own resources.

    3.    The Chief Executive of Surrey Wildlife Trust commented that the Trust and Surrey County Council had been working well together and that the relationship between them had improved, and that there was an understanding of the importance of making the countryside estate self-financing.

     

    4.    It was reported that the risks to the Trust, should the plans fail, were significant and that therefore it was in the Trust’s interest to succeed.
    It was reported that the Trustees would be discussing the Memorandum of Understanding, their formal commitment to the Council, at a meeting on 8 February 2016.

    5.    Members queried some of the figures around the woodland plan citing; 1,150 hectares generating £116,500 net income. The Director of Countryside Management explained that the Trust had commissioned an assessment of all nineteen woodlands on the countryside estate, and that they had been surveyed; however, at the time of writing the business plan they focussed on the four most productive woodlands, though assessments were still coming in for woodlands across the rest of the estate. The assessments have been completed, DWT are now working on the management plans for each woodland.

    6.    Members commented that a 0.1% per annum return was not a good prospect, however the Director of Countryside Management explained that the figures were based on wood prices and that opportunities would increase year on year, and that the low return on woodlands would be investigated.

    7.    Members commented that there were many income generating ventures that could be achieved in woodlands that did not require cutting down the wood. Officers agreed that recreational and amenity based activities were potentially viable in Surrey’s woodland estate. The Director of Countryside Management explained that discussions were taking place with contacts in the wood fuel industry around income generating opportunities. Some members raised concerns around levels of return.

    8.    The Chairman of the board agreed for the item to be taken into Part 2, by virtue of paragraph(s) 3, Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10/16

11/16

SURREY INFRASTRUCTURE STUDY

12/16

DATE OF NEXT MEETING: 10 MARCH 2016

    The next meeting of the Economic Prosperity, Environment and Highways Board will be held on Thursday 10 March 2016 at 10.30am in the Ashcombe Suite, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames.

    Minutes:

    The next meeting of the Economic Prosperity, Environment and Highways Board will be held on Thursday 10 March at 10.30am in the Ashcombe Suite, County Hall, Kingston-upon-Thames.