Agenda item

Overview of Sustainable Transport Activities

Purpose of the report:  Scrutiny of Services


This report provides members with an overview of three key areas of activity to support sustainable transport in the County as part of measures to improve travel choice, tackle congestion, improve journey time reliability, and to support economic growth and health and wellbeing.



Declarations of interest: None




Jason Russell, Assistant Director for Highways

Keith Taylor, Chairman, Planning and Regulatory Committee

Dominic Forbes, Planning and Development Group Manager

Lesley Harding, Sustainability Group Manager

Mike Goodman, Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning


Key points raised during the discussion:


1.    The report was introduced by the Sustainability Group Manager who gave an overview of the key areas of sustainable transport the service was working to support and develop. The report covered the work of the Travel SMART programme and the electric vehicle sector. It was explained that major projects were ongoing in both Guildford and Sheerwater; and funding from 2015 would be channelled through the Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).


2.    Concerns were raised around towns receiving funding to help support sustainable transport activities. The Sustainability Group Manager explained that the focus of bids was priority economic towns although work was being done to spread funding to rural areas. A key issue was that LEP funding focused primarily on centres for economic growth , which tended to be predominantly urban centres. Members wanted to ensure that rural areas were not forgotten when discussions around transport funding took place.


3.    Some members recognised that high costs of local transport provision were a barrier for residents. The Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning explained that a Local Transport Review Member Reference Group had been set up to look at issues around travel fares, which would also include options for ‘joining up’ different methods of transport.


4.    A member of the Committee queried whether work had been done to improve parking facilities for bike users at stations. The Sustainability Group Manager stated that work was being done with rail companies to produce a rail strategy which would focus on improving connectivity and cycle parking.


5.    Some Members felt that the report had an urban bias which did not take proper account of rural communities and the impact the lack of transport connectivity had upon young people. The Sustainability Group Manager recognised that there seemed to be an inclination towards funding for economic towns but confirmed this funding was decided by the LEPs. Partnership work was already being carried out with Hampshire and East Sussex to identify new ways of working.


6.    It was confirmed that a response with details around current  partnership working with regard to bus service provision, including the potential for working with Transport for London, would be shared with the Committee.


7.    There was concern amongst the Committee that the benefits of the Travel SMART Journey Planner had not been publicised to businesses in Surrey.


8.    A Member of the Committee pointed out that funding from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) was granted for sustainable transport measures in towns rather than rural villages. However, Officers were also congratulated on the positive impact LSTF funding had made on cycling infrastructure in towns such as Woking.


9.    The Sustainability Group Manager explained that the project evaluation for the LSTF programme which is being undertaken focuses on a range of factors including cost, impact and outcomes .  


10.  It was suggested that discussions around installing real time information at bus stops should be discussed at Local Committees. Both District and Boroughs and the community infrastructure levy (CIL) were identified as potential avenues for funding this. 


11.  The transport strategy for Surrey’s school place programme was introduced by the Chairman of the Planning and Regulatory Committee who was also the Chairman of the transport strategy Task Group. The Chairman of the Planning and Regulatory Committee referred to the process map (figure 3), which detailed the planned activity for each stage of the school expansions planning process.


12.  The Committee welcomed the transport strategy but recognised that school transport plans were not always adhered to.


13.  It was felt that Local Committees needed to be made aware of planned school expansions well in advance of an application being submitted to the county planning department. The Chairman asked for this issue to be raised with the Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning.


14.  The Planning and Development Group Manager explained that a significant amount of work had been done to understand how best to improve the consultation process and develop good working relations with Local Committees.


15.  The Planning and Development Group Manager reassured the committee that 95% of major expansions required in Surrey’s schools had already been identified by the planning service.


16.  Members identified an opportunity to reconcile cuts to bus subsidies through the school place programme. This would be picked up by the Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning and the Local Transport Review Member Reference Group.   


17.  The development of the electric vehicle sector was recognised as a good economic opportunity for the county. Opportunities for funding would open in the autumn. Members commented on encouraging the take up of electric vehicles through parking subsidies.    




The Environment and Transport Select Committee endorsed the Transport Strategy for Schools Place Programme and asked that the Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning agree with colleagues a set of procedures to make it possible for planning applications, including  detailed travel plans, to be submitted  to Planning Committees well in advance of required works. These procedures should also enable Local Committees to be consulted before the plans are submitted.


Actions/further information to be provided:


For officers to share details around current bus service partnership activities with the committee.


Committee Next Steps:





Supporting documents: