Agenda and draft minutes

Communities, Environment and Highways Select Committee - Friday, 19 March 2021 10.00 am

Contact: Ross Pike, Scrutiny Business Manager 

Media

Items
No. Item

9/21

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

    To report any apologies for absence and substitutions.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Apologies were received from Andy MacLeod and John Furey. There were no substitutions.

     

10/21

MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETINGS: MONDAY, 18 JANUARY 2021

    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.

11/21

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:

    Mike Goodman declared a personal interest in Item 5. This interest did not prevent the Member from participating in the discussion.

    Declaration: Chairman of the North Downs Railway Line and Member of the Southeast Community Rail Board.

     

12/21

QUESTIONS AND PETITIONS

    To receive any questions or petitions.

    Notes:

    1.    The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (Monday, 15 March 2021).

     

    2.    The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting(Friday, 12 March 2021).

     

    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 recorded within the minutes of the meeting. 

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    None received.

     

13/21

A NEW RAIL STRATEGY FOR SURREY 2021 pdf icon PDF 135 KB

    Purpose of the report:

     

    To present to the Select Committee the ‘New Rail Strategy for Surrey’.

    To seek the views and comments of the Select Committee on the strategy so they may be communicated to and considered by the County Council’s Cabinet when it considers the New Rail Strategy for Surrey on 30 March 2021.

    To receive a commentary of the rail strategy from London TravelWatch.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Matt Furniss, Cabinet Member for Highways

     

    Paul Millin, Strategic Transport Group Manager

     

    Daniel Philips, Senior Transport Consultant - Arup

    Tim Bellenger, Director - Policy and Investigation, London Travelwatch

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. The report presented to the Select Committee was the updated Railway Strategy (the ‘Strategy’) and it was to be considered at Cabinet on 30 March 2021. The Strategy had a supporting evidence base with a set of strategic aims and was part of the wider, forthcoming Local Transport Plan 4 (LTP4). Rail was an important aspect of Surrey’s infrastructure and would be key in helping the county achieve transport decarbonisation. Railways were largely out of the direct control of local authorities thus the Council would focus on effective lobbying, seeking investment, working with bus operators, and improving connections and access to railway stations for residents. 

     

    1. The Strategic Transport Group Manager stated that the Strategy was developed in partnership with Arup and would be important in helping the Council to articulate its strategies, policies, priorities, ambitions and the supporting evidence basis to local MPs, the government and rail industry to secure investment in Surrey.

     

    1. Members asked about the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, officers reported changed commuting patterns and a significant decrease in public railway usage. Despite this, the Group Manager stated that it was still an appropriate time to adopt a new strategy so the Council could input and shape the future of the rail industry. The Cabinet Member agreed that it was timely because it was important that post-Covid-19 people returned to sustainable modes of transport to meet decarbonisation and net carbon targets. The Cabinet Member went on to say that, as part of LTP4, it was vital that the railway strategy was integrated into the wider transport and infrastructure plan as early as possible to support the Council’s Climate Change Strategy (CCS). The Strategy was also important in light of the government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda; it provided an evidence base to lobby government to keep investment around Surrey and the southeast. 

     

     

    1. The Chairman invited the Director - Policy and Investigation, London Travelwatch (the statutory consumer watchdog that represented transport users in and around London including Surrey) to comment on the Strategy. The Director had made several suggestions in response to Surrey’s new Railway Strategy regarding station accessibility, community rail partnerships, and the extension of smartcard technology. Passenger numbers fell during the pandemic so improvements in the aforementioned areas were important in attracting users (both new and old) to the network.

     

    1. The Director stated that it was important that the Council engaged in wider consultation with stakeholders and disabled groups, for example Transport for All, in the finalising of the strategy, and suggested that modest changes and smaller schemes would make a considerable difference to people (for example, tactile paving at all stations).

     

    1. The Director added that joint research carried out by London Travelwatch and Transport Focus showed that, post-pandemic, many people who traditionally commuted to work via train would be working  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13/21

14/21

SURREY CLIMATE CHANGE STRATEGY pdf icon PDF 433 KB

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    Purpose of report:

     

    To provide the Select Committee with an update on progress in relation to the Climate Change Delivery Plan and the Land Management Framework, highlighting ongoing implementation and success to date.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Natalie Bramhall, Cabinet Member for Environment & Climate Change

     

    Carolyn McKenzie, Director – Environment

     

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. The Cabinet Member stated that the report was a summary of work that had taken place to date on the Climate Change Delivery Plan (CCDP). The final CCDP was to be published, with approval by Cabinet, in June 2021 following further development of the funding mechanisms and businesses models needed to finance and monitor reduction activities. Work on the Land Management Framework (LMF), summarised in the report, was a key part of the CCDP linked to the climate change adaptation agenda that would deliver multiple benefits. The Council was positioning itself to capitalise on investment opportunities that were likely to arise when the government’s Environmental Bill was published. Officers were developing a set of carbon reduction metrics which could be applied to programmes and schemes in the CCDP, and in the meantime were working on identifying immediate benefits such as Active Travel and decarbonisation of the corporate estate. The CCDP was to be updated and reviewed annually.

     

    1. The Director – Environment added that joint ownership of the CCDP was vital in ensuring effective engagement and emphasised the scale of the challenge which would only be overcome by the involvement of the private sector, public sector and residents and communities. The Council should take a clear leading role in enabling and inspiring people to make changes.

     

    1. The 100% CO2 target reduction, against 2019 levels, by 2050 was a challenging target and the government needed to make big policy shifts to help local authorities meet these national targets. The Council’s success would also depend on partner engagement and attracting investment. There had been significant improvements and changes and the Director stated that it was important not to undermine the difference that smaller initiatives, such as the streetlighting initiative, could make in meeting targets. The Director also added that if the electrification of cars and transport proceeded, the Council could meet its target by 2040.

     

    1. A Member requested further explanation of the Greener Futures Investment Multiplier Framework. The Director explained that this was being developed as the overarching Framework to draw in investment from numerous organisations to one platform to fund a range of programmes. It was also important to bring in the agendas and investment of other applicable strategies and programmes, such as the Rail Strategy and Local Transport Plan 4, to maximise outcomes and take forward the Council’s climate change agenda and achieve multiple benefit outcomes. For example, the River Thames Scheme flood defence programme included the creation of new habitats, and considered health, leisure and amenity purposes as well as carbon sequestration and biodiversity.

     

    1. The Council’s relationship with Surrey Wildlife Trust and Surrey Nature Partnership was important and Members wanted to see evidence of this and the organisations’ involvement in the report and referred to in Phase 2 of the Framework, particularly with regard to planning considerations. The Director assured the Committee that Surrey Wildlife Trust was involved with the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14/21

15/21

SURREY FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE IMPLEMENTATION OF MAKING SURREY SAFER - OUR PLAN 2020 - 2023 pdf icon PDF 472 KB

    Purpose of report:

     

    For the Select Committee to receive an update on the following areas:

    ·         Implementation of Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the changes included within Our Plan

    ·         The outcomes of the Covid-19 Inspection by HMICFRS

    ·         The continuing response to Covid-19 and Recovery Plan

    ·         SFRS Priorities

     

    For the Select Committee to receive a summary of the activity of the working group to monitor the implementation of the ‘Making Surrey Safer’ Plan and its conclusions.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

    Denise Turner-Stewart, Cabinet Member for Community Protection

     

    Steve Owen-Hughes, Director – Community Protection Group

    Sarah Kershaw, Chief of Staff

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

     

    1. The witnesses were asked by the Select Committee to comment on the industrial dispute with the Fire Brigades Union (FBU); this was ongoing albeit some items were resolved. Regular meetings were held with FBU representatives and every effort was being made to resolve all issues raised. The FBU suspended their Action Short of Strike in March 2020. The Chief Fire Officer stated Surrey Fire and Rescue Service’s (SFRS) desire to have good industrial relations with all unions, and it was encouraging more unions to recruit members from SFRS for wider representation of the workforce.

     

    1. A Member asked whether officers could provide trend data on SFRS’s establishment data to show how it changed over the previous five-year period. The Chief Fire Officer explained that the workforce was divided into four categories: control staff, support staff, wholetime firefighters, and on call firefighters, and the Service was now 100% across all those areas apart from on call , which was 83.3% and subject to an ongoing recruitment drive. Prior to 2019, there was no fixed establishment and from 2016-2018 SFRS depended on overtime to provide the required staffing levels.

     

    1. The Chief Fire Officer went onto say that there was an organisation development department whose job it was to forecast the Service’s leaver profile. This was being monitored and the Service encouraged retiring frontline staff to transfer to other service departments, such as fire safety, to retain experience Establishment figures were now fixed, and the risk of relying on overtime significantly reduced. In 2016, the Service was funded to a headcount of 646 on call and wholetime firefighters but, having undertaken data and risk analysis, the Service now knew that it needed 595 firefighters.

     

    1. SFRS was still able to meet its statutory requirements during the Covid-19 pandemic despite deploying staff into different service areas. Fulltime firefighters who delivered statutory response functions were deployed less frequently than parttime and volunteer service fire fighters. Most of the community resilience activities (i.e. prevention and protection measures) were impacted by the pandemic. Face to face Safe and Well visits to businesses and residents’ homes and school visits ceased temporarily at the beginning of the pandemic except for those safe and well visits for high risk vulnerable persons which continued. The Youth Cadet Scheme was delayed until September 2021 and community events and the Youth Engagement Programmes were reduced or delayed. Community engagement and staff engagement was also impacted by the pandemic and the Service undertook a recovery review starting in June 2020 to understand all areas impacted by the pandemic and develop a return to normal plan for catch up in those areas.

     

    1. The Chairman asked whether some ways of working had fundamentally changed due to Covid-19. The Chief Fire Officer responded that SFRS had learned over the last year that there were effective ways of doing things differently. Engagement with business  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15/21

16/21

SCRUTINY OF ALTERNATIVE BUDGET PROPOSAL pdf icon PDF 134 KB

17/21

FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME AND ACTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS TRACKER pdf icon PDF 25 KB

18/21

DATE OF THE NEXT MEETING: FRIDAY, 25 JUNE 2021

    The next public meeting of the Select Committee will be held on Friday, 25 June 2021.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committee noted its next meeting would be held on 25 June 2021.