Agenda and draft minutes

Communities, Environment and Highways Select Committee - Thursday, 16 September 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Remote, Microsoft Teams

Contact: Kunwar Khan, Scrutiny Officer 

Media

Items
No. Item

1/21

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

    To receive any apologies for absence and substitutions.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    (* = present at the meeting)

     

    Apologies for absence were received from Janet Mason.

     

    Mark Sugden attended as a substitute for Keith Witham.

     

     

     

     

2/21

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING: 19 MARCH 2021 pdf icon PDF 336 KB

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    To agree the minutes of the previous meeting of the Communities, Environment and Highways Select Committee as a true and accurate record of proceedings.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The minutes were agreed as a true record of the meeting.

3/21

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.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    None received.

4/21

QUESTIONS AND PETITIONS

    To receive any questions or petitions.

     

    The public retain their right to submit questions for written response, with such answers recorded in the minutes of the meeting; questioners may participate in meetings to ask a supplementary question. Petitioners may address the Committee on their petition for up to three minutes. Guidance will be made available to any member of the public wishing to speak at a meeting.

    Notes:

    1.    The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (Friday, 10 September 2021).

     

    2.    The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting(Thursday, 9 September 2021)

     

    3.    The deadline for petitions was 14 days before the meeting, and one petition has been received.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Two public questions and a Member question, together with a petition, were received in advance of the meeting. The details, including responses are provided below:

     

     

    Public Question from Elizabeth Daly, Mole Valley District Councillor for Bookham South

     

    It is great news that Surrey Highways with the backing of the Leader of Surrey County Council is supporting a 20mph zone on the A244 through Oxshott. Will the Committee encourage Surrey Highways to support communities that wish to adopt 20mph speed limits as a default in other Surrey towns and villages - by removing current costly procedural obstacles to such schemes?

     

    Answer:

     

    Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure stated that the County Council are currently consulting on a new Local Transport Plan (LTP4) which places greater priority on a sustainable travel hierarchy with walking and cycling at the top. To support this, the LTP4 advises making 20 mph the speed limit for shopping and residential streets where appropriate. This is already happening in a number of locations. For example, there is already a 20-mph speed limit in Reigate town centre, and several roads adjacent to Guildford town centre bounded by Woodbridge Road, York Road and Stoke Road have recently been reduced to 20 mph. Also, work is also taking place to develop 20 mph schemes for Farnham, Caterham and Weybridge town centres.

     

    It was right and proper that local communities and local councillors be consulted and have their say on the speed limits set for their roads where they live, within the framework set by the County Council, and in consultation with the police. There was also a need to follow the correct procedure set by central government to advertise local speed limit legal orders. There were no procedural obstacles to such schemes – instead the County Council’s process ensured that local people were consulted appropriately, and new schemes were effective in managing vehicle speeds.

     

    Member Question from Catherine Baart

    Surrey County Council applied to the government for £1.697m Tranche 1 funding, to support the rollout of emergency travel measures during the pandemic to encourage more cycling and walking. When the Council was only granted £848,000, it decided to match the government funding with a further £848,000 from its own resources. However, the Council subsequently withdrew its match funding to focus on an application for Tranche 2 funding for larger scale permanent improvements to the highway network. Please confirm that the £848,000 remains earmarked for active travel improvements, in addition to Tranche 2 funding?

     

    Answer:

     

    Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure said that he was pleased to confirm that after a successful bid the County Council received £6,445,750 of tranche 2 government funding to introduce eight permanent active travel schemes. Details of these were on Surrey Council website. The Council had also submitted an ambitious bid for tranche 3 funding of £8,130,796 and hoped to learn the outcome of this bid in the new few weeks. Tranche 1 funding was primarily for temporary measures associated with the pandemic – helping people socially  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4/21

5/21

SWR TIMETABLE CONSULTATION pdf icon PDF 241 KB

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    Purpose of the report:

     

    To inform the Committee of the South Western Railways Consultation for proposed rail services in the county from December 2022 and to agree a response to this consultation.

     

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Matt Furniss, Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure

    Lucy Monie, Director, Highways and Transport

    David Ligertwood, Passenger Transport Projects Team Manager

     

    The Chairman welcomed the public question and a timely petition about the South Western Railways Consultation.

     

    The Chairman invited the Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure to respond. In his response, the Cabinet Member stated that he appreciated the concerns raised by the petitioners. He informed the Select Committee that he had raised similar concerns, along with the local MP, Chris Grayling, in a frank exchange with the train operator.

     

    The Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure added that he would formally be responding to the South Western Railway (SWR) consultation and that he had similar concerns to the ones raised in the public question and the petition before this Select Committee on this topic.

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. The report presented to the Committee outlined South Western Railway (SWR) undertaking a strategic review of their rail timetable with the aim of providing reliable train services to meet forecast future passenger demands and to offer value for money.

     

    1. This review would consider service frequencies and train capacity, with changes planned to be introduced in December 2022. The proposed new timetable would, SWR stated, reflect the predicted changes to travel pattern because of the pandemic.

     

    1. A consultation was launched on 31 July 2021 and would close on 19 September 2021. Ahead of any changes to services SWR were seeking the views of stakeholders. The SWR December 2022 Timetable Consultation was appended as Annexe 1 of the report.

     

    1. Surrey County Council as a key stakeholder had been invited to comment but did not have any direct control of the service.

     

    1. Transport for the South East (TfSE), the sub-national transport body for the South East of England, had published a Transport Strategy. This focussed on economic, environmental, and social priorities and identifies the need for sustainable and attractive alternatives to the car, placing the passenger at the heart of the local public transport network, including more frequent rail services.

     

    1. On 30 March 2021 the County Council’s Cabinet adopted a New Rail Strategy for Surrey. This set out its future ambition and priorities for rail across the county. The New Rail Strategy supported the Council’s objective of growing a sustainable economy, how it might help residents and businesses respond to changing demands, and also supported the Council’s priority objective of enabling a greener future with net zero carbon a strong feature throughout.

               

    1. The emerging Surrey Transport Plan set out a bold ambition on how to achieve a future-ready transport system that would allow Surrey to lead the UK with a low-carbon, economically prosperous, healthy, and inclusive county. The Surrey Transport Plan proposed a hierarchy of modes and the ambition to shift journeys from the private car to other more sustainable modes, including active travel and public transport.

     

    1. SWR was seeking views on their proposals, particularly the proposed service reduction articulated in paragraph 17 and thereafter conclusions  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5/21

6/21

PROCUREMENT OF HIGHWAYS' TERM MAINTENANCE CONTRACT pdf icon PDF 260 KB

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    Purpose of report:

     

    To provide the Select Committee an update on the Procurement of the Term Maintenance Contract and some of the key features of the new arrangements scheduled to start in April 2022.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Matt Furniss, Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure

    Katie Stewart, Executive Director – Environment, Transport and Infrastructure

    Lucy Monie, Director, Highways and Transport

    Paul Wheadon, Business Improvement and Consultancy Team Manager

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. The Select Committee welcomed the report on the Procurement of the Term Maintenance Contract and some of the key features of the new arrangements scheduled to start in April 2022.

     

    1. The questions posed by the Committee to Cabinet Members and officers, together with the report, provided a sound insight into how over the past 12 months, Surrey County Council had overseen an exhaustive, complex procurement process to drive the best outcomes in each of the bidder’s tenders.

     

    1. The Select Committee understood that Council had undertaken a Competitive Procedure with Negotiation (CPN) procurement exercise which allowed both the Council and bidders to discuss and develop their proposals in several stages, allowing open discussion and negotiation to enable each bidder to eventually put forward their best submission.

     

    1. This approach allowed the Council to test and improve each bidder’s tender, giving confidence in the substance of the written submission, detailed scrutiny of the associated pricing to deliver those services, understanding of where risk pricing had been included, and allowing - where appropriate - the reallocation of risk to reduce the artificial inflation of prices.

     

    1. The Select Committee noted that the process to finalise the new contractor was to formally conclude soon with a report for the Cabinet at its next meeting, to approve the award of the Term Maintenance Contract to the successful bidder. Confidential information about this process and the name of the successful provider had been shared with the Members of the Select Committee privately before this meeting. The Committee was grateful to the Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure for this commitment to collaborative working.

     

    1. The Select Committee was reassured to learn that following the awarding of the contract, the Council would work with the successful contractor’s senior management teams to implement their mobilisation plan. Also, a communication plan would be developed and implemented to advise stakeholders on the award to the successful bidder.

     

    Recommendations:

     

    While supporting the contents of the Report and the rigorous process leading to the award of the contract, the Committee recommends:

     

    1. Timely and robust details of the specific improvements Surrey residents will be expecting from this new contract, particularly regarding the reporting of and quality of work on potholes and other highways matters and the overriding importance of ‘Right First Time’.

     

    1. Early publication of the chosen contractor’s commitment to “improve engagement with residents” and improve communication with them on planned works etc. and collaboration more generally. This should also involve elected Divisional members. The Reference Group of Councillors which has been involved throughout the contracting process can play a constructive role in helping shape these.

     

    1. That a robust process remains in place for the transition phase and initiated for mobilisation period.

     

    1. That unannounced and random spot checks on a regular basis be considered as  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6/21

7/21

BUSES BACK BETTER pdf icon PDF 251 KB

    Purpose of report:

     

    To inform the committee of the council’s obligations in respect of the new National Bus Strategy, ‘Bus Back Better’, and to seek its views on the Council’s proposed approach.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Matt Furniss, Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure

    Katie Stewart, Executive Director – Environment, Transport and Infrastructure

    Lucy Monie, Director – Highways and Transport

    Laurie James, Bus Service Planning Team Manager

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    1. Officers introduced the item and outlined the key aspects of the report.

     

    1. The Committee was informed of the Council’s obligations in respect of the new National Bus Strategy, ‘Bus Back Better’. A new national bus strategy, ‘Bus Back Better’, was published by government earlier in 2021.
    2. In summary, Bus Back Better required a local authority to consider its role in encouraging more people to travel by bus post-COVID-19 and set out aspirations for bus services that were more frequent, more reliable, easier to understand and use, better-co-ordinated, with understandable fare structures and with high quality information for passengers.

     

    1. To achieve the desired aims of the strategy and to be eligible to access further government Covid-19 support funding for bus services and a share of other new funding from a £3bn national fund. Local Transport Authorities must agree to pursue either bus franchising or to develop an Enhanced Partnership with all local bus operators in their administrative area.

     

    1. The Council issued a formal Notice of Intent to the Department for Transport on 29 June 2021, which stated that it would introduce an Enhanced Partnership with bus operators, in accordance with section 138F of the Transport Act 2000.

     

    1. To address carbon emission levels and to mitigate the national decline in bus patronage, which had been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, central government recognised that action was required. It also acknowledges that of all public transport modes, buses were the most adaptable and change could take place relatively quickly.

     

    1. In responding to Bus Back Better, there was a challenging requirement for Surrey County Council to create a Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) by 31 October 2021.

     

    1. A Local Transport Authority’s BSIP needed to contain a range of aspirations and ambitions to make the bus travel option more attractive, including various initiatives. The BSIP needed to be developed in collaboration with bus operators, community transport providers, adjoining Local Transport Authorities and other stakeholders, and it would be guided by issues in connection with bus services that had been identified by residents’ feedback. A BSIP would set out the local measures proposed for achieving the objectives of the national strategy and for encouraging greater bus use as part of the county’s ‘building back better’ more sustainably.
    2. The new National Bus Strategy and the proposed BSIP for Surrey needed to be aligned with several key themes from the new draft Surrey Transport Plan, in particular the proposed hierarchy of modes and the ambition to shift journeys from the private car to other more sustainable modes. Moreover, central to the Surrey County Council’s response to Bus Back Better would be to highlight and cross-reference the strong linkages to the aims and ambitions of the Council’s Greener Futures programme of work and the delivery of the Council’s 2030 Community  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7/21

8/21

POLICY ON THE USE OF SAFETY CAMERAS IN SURREY pdf icon PDF 272 KB

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    Purpose of the report:

     

    This report presents a new policy which sets out the criteria and process that will be followed for investment in new safety cameras. This includes average speed, spot speed, red-light and combination cameras. While road casualty hotspots will remain the top priority, the policy also sets out the criteria for the use of safety cameras at other locations where there might not have been such a high level of collisions, but where excess speeds are a concern for the community.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Matt Furniss, Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure

    Lucy Monie, Director for Highways

    Duncan Knox, Road Safety and Sustainable School Travel Team Manager

     

    Key points noted during the discussion:

     

     

    1. The Select Committee received a report outlining a new policy setting out the criteria and process that would be followed for investment in new safety cameras. Overall, Select Committee Members were very supportive of the scheme and appreciated the information provided to them in the report.

     

    1. The questions posed by the Committee to Cabinet Members and officers, together with the report, provided insight into the key aspects of this update and proposed changes that included average speed, spot speed, red-light and combination cameras. While road casualty hotspots would remain the top priority, the policy also set out the criteria for the use of safety cameras at other locations where there might not have been such a high level of collisions, but where excess speeds were a concern for the community.

     

    1. In Members’ questions, a spotlight was put on the ability of Members to use their divisional highways allocation to request the possible introduction of cameras at relevant local ‘community concern’ sites without unnecessary obstacles. Broader queries were also raised about the new Local Transport Plan and the ease of establishing 20 mile-per-hour zones, enforcement of moving traffic offences and heavy good vehicles.

     

    Recommendations:

     

    The Select Committee supports the proposed revisions and specifically endorses the creation of the “community concern” sites that may become eligible for cameras but cautions that:

     

          i.        Any unrealistic expectations among residents are not raised about new average speed cameras.

     

         ii.        In exploring alternative options before the use of cameras in “community concern” areas, these options  themselves do not become a reason (costs etc.) resulting in no decision is ever reached.

     

        iii.        Members should be able to request, wherever appropriate, spot cameras for a community concern site using their respective divisional highways allocation and other sources without unnecessary constraints.

     

       iv.        A roadmap of the process and prioritisation of requests – existing and new – be put in place and communicated accordingly to all relevant stakeholders.


9/21

RECOMMENDATIONS TRACKER AND FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 94 KB

10/21

DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING: 15 December 2021

    The next public meeting of the committee will be held on 15 December 2021.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committee noted its next meeting would be held on 15 December 2021.