Agenda and minutes

Environment Select Committee
Thursday, 6 September 2018 10.00 am

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

Contact: Huma Younis 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

2.

Minutes of the Communities Select Committee: 08 February 2018 pdf icon PDF 416 KB

3.

Declarations of Interest

     

    All Members present are required to declare, at this point in the meeting or

    as soon as possible thereafter:

     

    i.       any disclosable pecuniary interests and / or;

     

    ii.      other interests arising under the Code of Conduct in respect of any item(s) of business being considered at this meeting

     

    NOTES:

     

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

     

    ·        as well as an interest of the Member, this includes any interest, of which the Member is aware, that relates to the Member’s spouse or civil partner (or any person with whom the Member is living as a spouse or civil partner); and

     

    ·        Members with a significant personal interest may participate in the discussion and vote on that matter unless that interest could be reasonably regarded as prejudicial.

     

    Minutes:

    Cllr Witham stated that he was a Member of the Surrey Wildlife Trust charity.

     

    Cllr Mason stated that she represented Epsom and Ewell on the Surrey Countryside Partnership.

4.

Questions & Petitions

    To receive any questions or petitions

     

    Notes:

     

    1.    The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (31 August 2018).

     

    2.    The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting (30 August 2018).

     

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

    Minutes:

     There were none.

5.

A Joint Strategy for Surreys Countryside Estate pdf icon PDF 111 KB

    Purpose of the Report: Scrutiny of Services

     

    This report updates the Committee on the development of a joint strategy for Surrey’s Countryside Estate. The Committee is requested to establish a Member Reference Group and agree how they would like to input and engage with the development of the strategy.

     

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interests:

    None

     

    Witnesses:

    Lisa Creaye Griffin, Countryside Group Manager

    Sam Cunningham, Senior Change Consultant

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. The report was introduced by the Countryside Group Manager who explained that a Countryside Estate Strategy Member Reference Group (MRG) would focus on developing questions for the public engagement exercise, supporting the drafting of the Countryside strategy and the three year business plan.
    2. It was clarified that since the partnership had been established in 2002 there was no overarching strategy for the Countryside although each area within the Countryside had a management strategy in place. In terms on key achievements, the Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) had improved conservation sites that formed part of the estate and would be focusing on improving visitor’s services going forward.
    3. With the reduction of funding to the Countryside from the County Council and the impact of the loss of funding through Brexit, there was a plan in place to replace funding. It was explained that DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) would be lobbied for financial support.
    4. The Countryside Group Manager explained that SWT would be in attendance at MRG meetings and confirmed that EU funding for the Countryside currently stood at £300k.
    5. The Chairman requested that officers confirmed what ideas had been considered as part of income generating activity on the Countryside estate.
    6. It was confirmed that the MRG would be given the opportunity to review funding sources to support the management of the Countryside estate.
    7. In response to a Member question, it was confirmed that discussions around the development of the strategy with a number of partner organisations including Natural England and the Forestry Commission had already taken place.
    8. The Chairman queried the timescales for strategy launch in February 2019. Officers explained that work on the strategy would be prioritised for launch in March 2019 to coincide with the 60th anniversary of SWT.
    9. A Member of the Committee queried the timescales for engagement with the public and asked if this was an appropriate amount of time. The Senior Change Consultant explained that 8 weeks was the standard amount of time given for public engagement exercises and that a number of channels including social media and focus groups would be used to support activity.

     

    Cllr Heath briefly left the meeting at 10.42am

     

    1. It was stated by a Member that public engagement should also include holding events for residents to attend.
    2. In regards to charging on the Countryside, the Countryside Group Manager explained that as part of the engagement activity officers wanted to understand the public desire for setting variable costs.    
    3. A Member of the Committee stated the importance of clarifying and communicating with the public the costs associated with maintaining and supporting the Countryside. It was further added that DEFRA would be focusing on ‘public money for public goods’ and that this was something that the MRG should focus on as a possible avenue for future funding.  
    4. It was agreed that the Committee should be notified of when a Countryside  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Air Quality: Low Emissions Transport Strategy and Electric Vehicle Strategy pdf icon PDF 101 KB

    Purpose of the Report: Policy Development

     

    To inform and involve Members in the development of the Surrey Transport Plan, in particular in relation to reducing air pollution and carbon emissions from transport and facilitating sustainable transport options. To also provide the Select Committee with an overview of the Draft Surrey County Council Electric Vehicle Strategy as well as a summary of the consultation to date to enable members to provide their feedback and help to shape the final version of the document.

     

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interests:

    None

     

    Witnesses:

    Bronwen Chinien, Principal Environment and Sustainability Officer

    Paul Fishwick, Local Transport Programmes Manager

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. The Low Emissions Transport Strategy (LETS)report was introduced by the Principal Environment and Sustainability Officer and the Electric Vehicle Strategy (EV) was introduced by the Local Transport Programmes Manager.

     

    Cllr Heath briefly left the meeting at 11.08am

     

    1. The Chairman queried what work had been undertaken to encourage sustainable travel behaviour. The Principal Environment and Sustainability Officer explained funding had been received between 2012-16 from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund to support sustainable travel work. Since then, funding has been secured for a programme for schools to provide a range of travel planning measures which will be rolled out by the end of 2018.
    2. In response to concern from the Chairman about health and safety of electric charge points in domestic properties, the Local Transport Programmes Manager confirmed that rapid charge points could not be installed in homes and only trickle (slow) charging points could be installed in the home. Furthermore, in the context of the previous item’s subject of countryside sites, it was advised that in secluded locations the cost for installing rapid charge points could cost considerably more than £25k and would be subject to other suitability criteria.
    3. The Local Transport Programmes Manager gave details of a number of schemes that were taking place, this included £56m which had been allocated for major schemes including sustainable travel improvements.
    4. Officers agreed to support the inclusion of an additional performance indicator within the LETS, measuring travel behaviour as indicated within the public consultation summary and explained that this data was already available.
    5. Members generally supported both strategies and agreed both were clear in aims and objectives.
    6. A Member of the Committee was concerned that the LETS had not explicitly mentioned air travel and the implications of the expansion at London Heathrow on emissions in Surrey. The Member added that he was not confident the strategy could deliver against the scale of the issues at hand. Officers stated that as a partner within the Heathrow Strategic Planning Group, the council is seeking sufficient mitigation of the impacts of growth. Heathrow Airport Ltd are responsible for designing the scheme and proposing mitigation measures to ensure air quality is not adversely impacted by the expansion. Regarding delivery of the LETS, although there was no explicit action plan attached to the strategy, local transport strategies at the borough level will be a key element of delivering the aims of the strategy.
    7. In regards to planning issues, it was confirmed that the transport development planning team based at the county advised districts and boroughs on transport implications for new developments with larger developments requiring an air quality assessment.  
    8. It was explained that home working was encouraged at the Council and promoted through travel plans with businesses. Officers explained that there was a rail strategy in place which lobbied electrifying on particular networks. Unfortunately, the cost of rail travel is regulated by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 68 KB

    The Select Committee is asked to review and approve the Forward Work Programme and provide comment as required.

    Minutes:

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. The Chairman explained that the 5 December Select Committee meeting would be held at the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service HQ in Wray Park.
    2. It was agreed that the Countryside Estate Strategy MRG would review disabled access on the Countryside estate.
    3. The Chairman confirmed that to her knowledge the final report regarding the HMICFRS inspection of the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service was not ready for publication.
    4. A Member asked that in future when an item was removed from the forward plan that this be communicated with the Committee. The Chairman agreed to this course of action and ensured Members that they would be notified when the forward plan was changed.
    5. The Chairman stated that the forward plan would be updated with the scrutiny of transformation projects in due course.

     

8.

Date of the Next Meeting