Agenda and draft minutes

Communities, Environment and Highways Select Committee - Wednesday, 16 September 2020 10.00 am

Venue: REMOTE MEETING

Contact: Ross Pike, Committees Business Manager 

Note: Please note that due to the Covid-19 pandemic this meeting will take place remotely. 

Media

Items
No. Item

24.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

    To report any apologies for absence and substitutions.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Apologies were received from Jan Mason.

25.

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETINGS: 18 JUNE 2020 pdf icon PDF 108 KB

    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.

26.

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.

27.

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 (Thursday 10 September 2020).

     

    2.    The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting(Wednesday 19 September 2020)

     

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

     

     

    Due to the Covid-19 pandemic all questions and petitions received will be responded to in writing and will be contained within the minutes of the meeting.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    None received.

28.

CABINET MEMBER UPDATES pdf icon PDF 99 KB

    Purpose of report:

     

    To share details of the Cabinet Members’ priority areas of work including strategy and policy developments and provide an overview of the budget position and performance of services within his/her portfolio.

     

    Cabinet Member for Communities Update – Report to follow

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Matt Furniss, Cabinet Member for Transport

    Natalie Bramhall, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change

    Denise Turner-Stewart, Cabinet Member for Communities

     

    Katie Stewart, Executive Director – Environment, Transport and Infrastructure

    Steve Owen-Hughes, Chief Fire Officer and Head of Surrey Community Protection Group

     

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    CABINET MEMBER FOR TRANSPORT

     

    1. The Cabinet Member was asked to provide additional information on the streetlight private finance initiative (PFI) renegotiation. The Cabinet Member stated that negotiations had been underway for the last year and LED roll out was proceeding, after which a discussion on refinancing would take place. The Cabinet Member stated that this was scheduled to be discussed at the next cabinet meeting.

     

    1. The Chairman queried how much of the first tranche of government funding for active travel had been spent or allocated. The Cabinet Member stated that twenty of the twenty-three tranche one schemes had been delivered and the remaining three would be completed by the end of September 2020. Some schemes had been withdrawn and this was largely due to lack of support from divisional Members. This had been anticipated and alternative schemes were in place to replace them. All tranche one schemes and all proposed tranche two schemes had been uploaded on the Council’s Commonplace transport map. The Department for Transport would confirm tranche two funding at the end of the month.

     

    1. A Member remarked that there had been good public engagement with Active Travel and asked how public responses would be integrated into the council’s Active Travel response to COVID-19. The Cabinet Member stated the top one hundred public comments on the Surrey COVID transport website that received the most support from other residents and were deemed viable by the Council were put on the  Commonplace transport map. Active Travel would be a rolling programme of which public engagement was an ongoing component.

     

    1. A Member asked for further information on the timescales for new road surface trials. The Cabinet Member informed the committee that the previous two trials had been a hydroblasting trial - using water to remove shiny elements from a road surface to improve surface grip – and an oil emulsion trial – an alternative to surface dressing. More recent trialling had been on plastic pellets in utility reinstatements trial, however there was a concern that there was a lack of understanding on the long-term performance of plastic. In the coming months, there would be an alternative road marking trial with the aim of reducing use of microplastics. A new thermal patching method had been successfully trialled on one of the worst areas of potholes in the county; it would also be trialled as a reactive treatment. Trial sites would be returned to in 12- and 24-month periods for monitoring purposes. The Cabinet Member stated that Members were informed of progress within updates at full council.

     

    1. A Member asked whether more electric vehicle charging points could be installed in areas which were accessible to all Surrey residents. The Cabinet Member stated that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28.

29.

SURREY FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE IMPLEMENTATION OF MAKING SURREY SAFER - OUR PLAN 2020-2023 pdf icon PDF 181 KB

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    Purpose of report:

     

    The Select Committee was provided with a report on progress of the implementation of the Making Surrey Safer – Our Plan 2020 – 2023 for the meeting held on the 24th March 2020.  This report provides a further update.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Denise Turner-Stewart, Cabinet Member for Communities

     

    Steve Owen-Hughes, Chief Fire Officer and Head of Surrey Community Protection Group

    Sarah Kershaw, Chief of Staff and Deputy Head of Community Protection Group

     

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    1. The Cabinet Member stated that detailed work had been undertaken since the March meeting of the Select Committee. Phase one making surrey safer plan had been successfully implemented despite the COVID-19 pandemic. The annual statement of assurance had been published and refreshed in an engaging format to fully inform the public. Performance of the service had consistently improved since implementation of phase one. The service was awaiting the outcome of the Brunel University external validation assurance later this month.

     

    1. A Member thanked Surrey Fire and Rescue Service for its hard work during the Chobam wildfires and asked what welfare provision was provided for firefighters working in harsh conditions such as those at Cobham. The Chief Fire Officer stated that there was good welfare provision in place; a contract ensured that rapid relief were in place at major incidents. Welfare, including water and provisions, was provided on every fire engine and all firefighters carried a credit card to purchase additional supplies if desired. SFRS had received feedback from other fire and rescue services stating that the provision of welfare for their firefighters when working for SFRS had been very good.

     

    1. A Member questioned whether firefighter welfare was reviewed on a regular basis, especially for future major incidents. The Chief Fire Officer stated that a welfare review was under way and processes were being checked. The Chief Fire Officer assured the Committee that all concerns voiced by firefighters were listened to. The Cabinet Member gave assurance that welfare was prioritised in the service.

     

    1. A Vice chairman expressed concern about emergency response time and asked how COVID-19 had impacted this negatively. The Chief Fire Officer stated that although the start of lockdown traffic was significantly reduced, road traffic collisions that did occur during this period were more impactful and required a greater level of intervention. Lockdown had caused different incidents requiring different responses.

     

    1. A Member asked how the Service performed on recruitment and retention of staff and asked how many current vacancies there were in the Service. The Chief Fire Officer stated that of 664 posts, there were 59 vacancies which included 17 whole time firefighter vacancies. Across the whole service, there were 67 new members of staff recently employed. The recruiting cycle was ongoing however had stalled during the COVID-19 period. The Service was now able to recruit and train at all levels in the service. Internal promotions were encouraged as were pursuing different career paths within the service. Exit interviews were conducted with staff and the Chief Fire Officer informed the Committee that the most common reasons for staff leaving the service were personal issues, new external opportunities and taking retirement. A Member requested that the Chief Fire Officer provide a breakdown of the number of serving firefighters and support staff.

     

    1. The Member also  ...  view the full minutes text for item 29.

30.

SURREY CLIMATE CHANGE STRATEGY PROGRESS UPDATE pdf icon PDF 139 KB

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    Purpose of report:

     

    The purpose of the report is to provide the Communities, Environment and Highways Select Committee with an update on progress since the Surrey Climate Change Strategy was endorsed by Cabinet in April 2020.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Natalie Bramhall, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change

     

    Katie Stewart, Executive Director – ETI

    Carolyn McKenzie, Director – Environment

    Katie Sargent, Environment Group Commissioning Manager

     

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. The Cabinet Member stated that the council had been working hard to engage with its borough and district partners; the Cabinet Member had held meetings with climate change portfolio holders and officer leads from eight of the district and boroughs, with the remaining three meetings scheduled. The meetings had been positive and confirmed a shared desire for joint working to tackle the climate crisis. Many district and borough councils, however, now did not have the funding to continue their climate work and were turning to the County Council to lead on, and fund, carbon reduction activities.

     

    1. The Cabinet Member continued that work was underway to greater understand the council’s carbon reduction targets, how they would be achieved, and the financial impacts of them. Consultants were being commissioned to produce a series of costed carbon reduction targets for the council’s estate and the county.

     

    1. The £300m Greener Futures investment programme was endorsed at March cabinet and would make a significant contribution to deliver on the climate change ambitions. A dashboard reporting the resulting emissions reductions would enable performance reporting to occur.

     

    1. An urban tree planting fund had been launched and members had been asked for suggestions. Finally. The council had put a bid into the government’s green homes local authority delivery programme (GH LAD) which, if successful, would bring £6.2m into the county to improve energy efficiency in low income inefficient housing, reducing fuel poverty in the county as well as stimulating Surrey’s green economy. In order to improve the council’s chances of being awarded this funding, the council allocated £750,000 capital funding to act as a top up fund for more costly energy efficiency measures.

     

    1. A Vice Chairman expressed concern that the COVID-19 pandemic and unitarisation of local authorities could impact on the delivery of the council’s climate strategy. The Cabinet Member stated that a unitarity authority could be better placed to deliver climate ambitions. In the interim, cooperation and communication with district and boroughs would be key in bringing forward the strategy. The Cabinet Member could not yet state what impact COVID-19 would have on the climate change agenda but hypothesised that the biggest bearing would be on public transport.

     

    1. A Member asked how many Surrey residents had used the interactive carbon footprint tool. The Cabinet Member informed members that the green microsite on World Environmental Day and it had 1,700 hits in the first month.

     

    1. A Member asked whether the council could assist the health sector to meet climate targets. The Group Manager assured the committee that the directorate was engaging with the health sector, mainly through the Surrey Heartlands Board, Heartlands Sustainability Network and The Estates Board.

     

    1. A Member stated that transport was the largest source of emissions in Surrey and asked what plans were in place to address this. The Executive Director stated  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.

31.

RECOMMENDATIONS TRACKER AND FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 67 KB

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    Purpose of report:

     

    For the Select Committee to review the attached recommendations tracker and forward work programme, making suggestions for additions or amendments as appropriate.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Ross Pike, Scrutiny Business Manager

     

    1.    The Scrutiny Business Manager stated that there were many items to be scoped and prioritised before the end of the municipal calendar. This would be discussed with the Committee in due course.

     

    2.    The Scrutiny Business Manager stated that there would be a climate change item at the November meeting of the Select Committee.

     

32.

DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING: 25 November 2020

    The next public meeting of the committee will be held virtually via Microsoft Teams on Tuesday 15th December 2020.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committee noted its next meeting would be held on 25 November 2020.

     

     

    Meeting ended at 12:30.

33.

PRIVATE WORKSHOP

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    ·         Climate Change Delivery Plan: discussion of the draft Climate Change Delivery Plan prior to public scrutiny of the final draft at the December meeting of the Select Committee.

     

    ·         Budget Scrutiny: review of the council’s current financial position and core planning assumptions.

     

     

    Additional documents: