Agenda and draft minutes

Communities, Environment and Highways Select Committee
Thursday, 19 September 2019 10.00 am

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

Contact: Huma Younis 

Items
No. Item

9/19

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

10/19

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING pdf icon PDF 97 KB

11/19

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:

    There were none.

12/19

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 (13 September 2019).

     

    2. The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting (12 September 2019).

     

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

    Minutes:

    There were none.

     

13/19

SURREY FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE TRANSFORMATION WORKING GROUP FINAL REPORT pdf icon PDF 155 KB

    Purpose of report: To provide the Communities, Environment and Highways Select Committee with a detailed report on the findings and recommendations of the Fire Transformation Working Group which was set up to review the ‘Making Surrey Safer-Our Community Safety Plan’ which proposes a number of changes to the way Surrey Fire and Rescue Service operates.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Saj Hussain, Chairman of the Fire Transformation Working Group

    Chris Botten, Working Group Member

    Jan Mason, Working Group Member

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    The Vice-Chairman made the following statement: The fire transformation Working Group was set up by the Environment Select Committee now the Communities, Environment and Highways Select Committee to support the transformation of the fire service and to provide independent scrutiny on the ‘Making Surrey Safer- Our Community Safety Plan’. Between March and July 2019, the Working Group has spoken with 17 stakeholders and has listened to their views and concerns on the ‘Making Surrey Safer- Our Community Safety Plan’. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the witnesses whom we have spoken to for their willingness and efforts- it has been greatly appreciated. The evidence heard at witness sessions has helped the Working Group formulate a series of recommendations for consideration by the Select Committee. I believe the recommendations contained with the Working Groups report are impactful and will help strengthen the ‘Making Surrey Safer- Our Community Safety Plan’. I would like to give residents and stakeholders the assurance that the proposed plan will be scrutinised by the Select Committee on a quarterly basis and any areas of concern will be forwarded to the Cabinet for further investigation.

    2.    Mr Botten reiterated that the Working Groups key concern was the level of staffing within the service especially if changes were to be made to how the service operated. As a result the Group recommends that the new proposed crew and vehicle placement model as detailed within the ‘Making Surrey Safer-Our Community Safety Plan’ is resourced at full establishment firefighter (including on-call) staffing levels. It was added that the increase in response times especially at night time was raised as a concern by witnesses.    

    3.    It was agreed that the committee would ask questions regarding the plan in the following item.

    4.    The committee endorsed the recommendations of the Working Group for Cabinet approval.

     

    Resolved:

     

    That Cabinet approve the ‘Making Surrey Safer – Our Plan’ 2020-23 subject to the following recommendations of the Fire Transformation Working Group:

    1. By 1 April 2020, the Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Fire and Resilience to ensure that the new proposed crew and vehicle placement model as detailed within the ‘Making Surrey Safer-Our Community Safety Plan’ is resourced at full establishment firefighter (including on-call) staffing levels and for staffing levels to be closely monitored by the service to ensure these do not fall below establishment levels.

     

    1. Emergency response times are closely monitored and scrutinised by the Communities, Environment and Highways Select Committee on a quarterly basis to ensure that response times which do not meet current and future Surrey response standards can be addressed by further appropriate scrutiny.

     

    1. If the ‘Making Surrey Safer-Our Community Safety Plan’ is approved by Cabinet, that Senior Managers continue to engage with staff to discuss the impact of the changes on working patterns and give staff the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13/19

14/19

SURREY FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE (SFRS) MAKING SURREY SAFER - OUR PLAN 2020-2023 pdf icon PDF 133 KB

    Purpose of report: For the Communities, Environment and Highways Select Committee to scrutinise the ‘Making Surrey Safer’ plan and review the feedback from the public consultation, making recommendations to Cabinet.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Denise Turner Stewart, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Fire & Resilience

    Steve Owen Hughes, Director of Community Protection & Emergencies

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.     The Cabinet Member thanked the Working Group for their work and felt that appropriate scrutiny of the service had been undertaken. The Cabinet Member stated her support for the Working Groups recommendations.

    2.     It was queried by members if the changes to the fire service were part of cost saving measures. The Cabinet Member stated that a £6m saving target for the year had been removed and the new plan would be making significant capital investment to the service as part of the councils wider transformation plan.

    3.     With regards to older firefighters who did not pass the annual fitness tests, the aim would be to expand the role of the firefighter so that experience and expertise would remain within the service. To do this, discussions would need to take place with the Unions on a national level. There was support from the committee on this approach.

    4.     Concern was raised around the risks to vulnerable people impacted by the change to response times in the new plan. Officers were asked what assurance they could give that the overall risk to the community would be reduced. The Director of Community Protection & Emergencies stated that prevention activity would increase with the number of safe and well visits increasing to 20,000. The committee could be assured that prevention activity would see a decline in the number of incidents.   

    5.     A member of the Working Group explained the importance of the committee holding the service to account on response times which has been included within one of the Groups recommendations. Giving an anecdote, the member spoke positively about an experience he had recently had with the fire service.

    6.     It was queried how culture within the service would be transformed for the better. The Director of Community Protection & Emergencies recognised that there were cultural issues within the service. The service had not had any changes since the 1970’s and bullying and harassment would be addressed through specific plans. The Director of Community Protection & Emergencies spent one day per week with staff at fire stations and stated that he was happy to listen to staff concerns.       

    7.     The Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Fire & Resilience confirmed that the level of engagement undertaken by the service had been unprecedented.

    8.     There was a recognition from members that there was a great amount of misinformation about the service on social media. Officers recognised that more needed to be done to highlight the positive work the service was doing.

    9.     The Cabinet Member for Community Safety requested scrutiny support from the Working Group on how best for the service to engage with residents. It was felt that it would be useful for the Working Group to continue its work. 

    10.  It was confirmed that last calendar year there were two fatal fire deaths, and that last financial  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14/19

15/19

WASTE TASK GROUP FINDINGS pdf icon PDF 67 KB

    Purpose of report: To inform the Communities, Environment and Highways Select Committee of the outcome of the work of the Waste Task Group.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    Mr Essex declared an interest in that he was a trustee of a furniture re-use charity.

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Dr Andrew Povey, Chairman of the Waste Task Group

    Alan Bowley, Interim Head of Environment

    Becky Rush, Task Group Member

    Jonathan Essex, Task Group Member

    Mike Goodman, Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. The Chairman of the Waste Task Group explained that the Groups work was to focus on how the council could strengthen its environment friendly agenda, rather than focusing on trying to save money.
    2. Task group members explained that there was consensus to keep all Community Recycling Centres (CRCs) in Surrey open and supported the reduce-reuse-recycle vision. During visits to a number of CRCs across Surrey it was clear that practice across each varied greatly.
    3. There was a discussion around the increase in fly-tipping and why this was occurring. The Chairman of the Waste Task Group explained that the majority of fly-tipping was commercial waste and that a recommendation had been included within the Task Groups report around future working with the commercial sector to help tackle this issue. More clarity was required around what can and cannot be taken to CRCs which was adding to fly tipping issues.
    4. The Interim Head of Environment explained that fly tipping data was collated by the district and boroughs although this information was not always accurate as it was measured differently depending on the authority. A fly tipping working group had been established to engage and educate the public.
    5. The Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste explained that a fly tipping strategy had been introduced by the council 2 years ago.
    6. A member stated their support for the discontinuing of charges for small quantities of wood and rubble although the Cabinet Member confirmed that these charges had never been introduced.
    7. There was agreement that the messages being shared regarding CRCs had been confused and mixed. More work needed to be undertaken to educate residents around the benefits of CRCs and recycling in general. It was explained that the Resources and Waste Strategy would see the introduction of a tax for certain recycling materials.
    8. There was a recognition that recycling rates required improving and district and boroughs had a role in supporting this through the waste collection and disposal contracts through the Surrey Environment Partnership (SEP).
    9. There was a short discussion around staffing at CRCs. It was agreed that any staffing issues should be reported to the Cabinet Member outside of the meeting for investigation by officers.
    10. The Chairman of the Waste Task Group informed the committee that he would be attending the next meeting of the SEP. He explained that the SEP did not have any targets in place and required vigorous scrutiny. A Member of the Task Group added that the SEP required turbo charging so action was being undertaken rather than the SEP becoming a talking shop.
    11. A member explained that in Melbourne, Australia local councils allow residents to leave items for recycling  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15/19

16/19

PARKING STRATEGY UPDATE pdf icon PDF 199 KB

    Purpose of report: This report seeks the Communities, Environment and Higways Select Committee’s views about changes to the council’s on street parking management and enforcement policies including a review of fees and charges for parking related services.

     

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Richard Bolton, Local Highway Services Group Manager

    David Curl, Parking Strategy and Implementation Team Manager

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    1.     The Parking Strategy and Implementation Team Manager introduced the report explaining that the Surrey County Council (on street) Parking Strategy was adopted in 2011 and sets out the councils policies about on-street parking regulation and enforcement. It has evolved and developed in the years since but it is now time for a more comprehensive update to ensure it is in alignment with the councils ‘2030 vision’ and changes in national legislation.

    2.     It was queried how officers could justify the increase of resident permits from £50 to £80. Officers explained that the increase would cover the costs for administration and enforcement of resident permits.

    3.     It was explained that parking reviews combine all the agreed changes to parking restrictions in a district or borough over a period of time so that they can be taken through the statutory process together. This saves time and money as by law it is necessary to place a statutory notice in a local paper to amend or create a as a single Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) which could costs up to £800 for a small change therefore batching it is more efficient.

    4.     A member commented that the fear of traffic enforcement had disappeared and argued that the committee should write to central government on issues concerning pavement parking. Officers explained that governments transport committee recommended in there ‘pavement parking’ report a ban on pavement parking nationally which officers supported.

    5.     There was agreement that the costs associated with placing a statutory notice in a local paper to amend or create a single Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) was too high and needed to be reviewed.

    6.     A member of the committee commented that the increase charges for second and third additional resident permits was extremely high from £75 to £100 (second permit) and £130 (third permit). Officers explained that costs had increased to discourage the use of second and third permits and to encourage off street parking.

    7.     It was explained that the enforcement of parking restrictions solely by camera is now only allowed for contraventions on School Keep Clears (SKC’s), bus stop clearways/bus lanes and red routes. It was explained that camera operations are very expensive and can become onerous.

    8.     There was a discussion around electric vehicle charging points although officers explained that EV charging points were not part of the parking strategy.

    9.     Some members of the committee were opposed to the increase in permit charges arguing that increased costs should not be used to offset service charges.

    10.  The Chairman rounded up the discussion stating that the committee support the majority of the proposals within the report. The Chairman could see the rational for increasing costs as it had not happened for a number of years. The profit would also be reinvested into local committees which was a positive.

    11.  Mr Gulati asked  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16/19

17/19

SURREY COUNTY COUNCIL'S RESPONSE TO STATUTORY CONSULTATION ON HEATHROW AIRPORT EXPANSION pdf icon PDF 96 KB

    Purpose of the report: The Communities, Environment and Higways Select Committee is asked to consider the County Council’s draft response to the statutory consultation on Heathrow Airport Limited’s plans for airport expansion.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

     

    None

     

    Witnesses:

     

    Mike Goodman, Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste

    Sue Janota, Spatial Planning & Policy Manager

    Paul Millin, Strategic Transport Group Manager 

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. The report was introduced by the Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste whom explained that the key issue for the council in relation to Heathrow Airport Limited’s (HAL) plans for airport expansion was Southern Rail Access which is a priority infrastructure project for the council and will support economic and sustainable growth.
    2. Members supported and recognised that Southern Rail Access was a priority for the council and residents and welcomed the prioritisation of this within the consultation response.
    3. There was consensus that the information provided by HAL in the consultation lacked detail especially with regard to mitigation measures being put in place. 
    4. A member of the committee commented that air quality was a key concern for him especially with the ever-growing climate change agenda and therefore more transport modelling detail was required from HAL to fully assess the impact on air quality.
    5. There was a short discussion around flight paths and the fact that many residents had not been consulted on these changes. It was explained by officers that flight paths were within the remit of the Civil Aviation Authority and that flight paths in relation to Heathrow expansion would be consulted on in 2022.
    6. It was explained that the Heathrow Strategic Planning Group (HSPG) was made up from a number of different authorities including Hounslow, Slough, Spelthorne and Runnymede. The HSPG lobbied DfT and HAL to push forward work to develop the expansion project and ensure it benefits each authority.
    7. A comment was raised around whether work could be undertaken with the LEP’s to support the council with the impacts of the airport expansion.
    8. The Chairman of the committee was of the view that there seemed to be a lack of commitment from HAL on support to the council especially with regards to Southern Rail Access and transport assessments/mitigation measures.
    9. The committee endorsed the response from the council on the airport expansion consultation but expressed concern around the lack of information from HAL regarding expansion proposals. It was felt that if the council received an unsatisfactory response from HAL then the Cabinet needed to reconsider their stance towards the expansion especially in light of the climate emergency declared in May 2019.

     

    Resolved:

     

    The Communities, Environment and Highways Select Committee endorse Surrey County Councils response to the Heathrow Airport expansion consultation and express concern over a lack of detailed information and commitment from Heathrow Airport Limited. The Select Committee urges Cabinet to reconsider their position in regards to the Heathrow Airport expansion if the council does not receive satisfactory responses from Heathrow Airport Limited.

     

     

18/19

FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME AND ACTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TRACKER pdf icon PDF 108 KB

19/19

DATE OF NEXT MEETING