- Meeting of Transport, Environment & Climate Change Select Committee, Thursday, 24th June, 2021 10.00 am (Item 6.)
The Committee will receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Transport and the Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment on priorities for the year ahead.
Cllr Steven Broadbent, Cabinet Member for Transport
Cllr Peter Strachan, Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment
Mr Steven Broadbent, Cabinet Member for Transport highlighted the following priorities:
· This was a large portfolio that effected the lives of residents on a daily basis.
· The contract with Ringway Jacobs would cease in March 2023 and a large amount of work was currently being undertaken to procure a new contract.
· Additional £4m investment had been included in the council’s budget to improve gully cleaning and drain repairs and the programme was currently being undertaken.
· A capital programme of £442k was in place to improve the condition of the Rights of Way network.
· The change in parking behaviours during the COVID pandemic had created a deficit in the parking revenue budget of £1m. This would be monitored and considered during the budget determination process for the following year.
· Members were informed of a government initiative ‘Bus, Back, Better’ a new National Bus Strategy. As part of the strategy a Bus Service Improvement Plan would be required to be delivered by the end of October. There would be a requirement to adopt the ‘Enhanced Partnership’ model with bus operators. This would be considered by Cabinet on 29 June.
· S106 funds would support transport schemes including a Council Wide Local Walking and Cycling Infrastructure Plan, area transport strategies and e-scooter trails.
· Major Projects would include managing the impact of HS2 and East West Rail and impact on residents. Two HS2/EWR marshals were being recruited to help monitor projects and would be in post later in the year.
In response to questions the following points were noted:
· Electric vehicle charging (EVC) points would be doubled within the year, there were currently 40 places; this was all subject to funding. The main expense was providing the electricity supply to the charging points. The maximum funding from government had been accessed to deliver as many as possible for the scheme.
· The EVC Strategy would be developed and all options to increase the number of points available to residents would be considered.
· Parish councils had been encouraged to apply for funding for EVC points, which some had undertaken, however the costs to provide the electricity to the areas outweighed the funds available to deliver the charging points.
· The electrical supply cost was as high as £10,000 for the charging points and the government had raised the funding to meet this cost. Each site/location would need to be considered; the challenge was getting the appropriate supply to the location.
· Experimental work was being undertaken with solar EVC points and contact charging points.
· It was suggested that investment from the private sector for charging points and hubs be considered as part of the EVC strategy.
· There would be opportunity in the bus strategy to help reduce emissions in the bus fleet. The current memo of understanding with the operators for home to school transport includes the legal standard for emissions. There was also currently a pilot for two on demand transport schemes to reduce private vehicle usage.
· There were two off street electric parking points on Olympic Way however these were difficult to access due to petrol cars being able to park in the spaces.
· A scheme was underway to consider EVC points for residents without their own driveways and evidence from this would then feed into evidence as part of the transport strategy. Options such as gullies or cable covers could be considered.
· There were some requirements on new housing developments to provide EVCs however this was part of the planning portfolio to consider.
· Regarding the council’s vehicle fleet a trial had been undertaken for electric vehicles and there had been a problem for some vehicles going up hills in the Wycombe area. The review of the council’s vehicle fleet would be part of the Climate Change Strategy.
· The Bus Strategy would be considered at the next Cabinet meeting; this was part of the governments initiative. Revenue funding for a senior role to support the strategy had been allocated however further specific information regarding the costs would be provided to the members outside of the meeting.
· Budget adjustments had been made for 2021/22 with regards to the loss of car parking revenue. Parking income had yet recovered, however consideration was being given to the overall regeneration of towns and how this would affect transport use in the future.
· A pilot cycle hire scheme was being undertaken in Waddeson Greenway. Consideration was being given to extend the scheme and evidence from this would help inform if the scheme could be replicated in other areas.
· The council had provided additional funding in last year’s budget year to help manage the HS2/EWR project. Recruitment for the marshals began at this point and the primary role would be as a point of contact for residents and investigate issues. The marshals were part of a package to help monitor the project and liaise with communities.
· Using lampposts as charging points for electrical vehicles was being considered. This would be a pilot scheme for on-street charging on a slow charge for use overnight.
· The Chairman suggested that the electric vehicle charging scheme could be brought to a future meeting for discussion.
Mr Peter Strachan, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change highlighted the following priorities in his portfolio:
· Climate change was recognised globally however needed to be delivered at local level with government policy to support work.
· The Climate Change Strategy had been endorsed by Cabinet and would be taken out to public consultation ahead of adoption by full Council.
· The aim to reduce net carbon to zero by the council was by 2050 or earlier and this reflected government policy. Measures would need to be sensible and costed accordingly and the council’s overall budget would have to be considered.
· The council was taking part in a pilot scheme for Local Nature Recovery Strategies.
· A Strategic Flood Management capital programme would be delivered over the next two years.
· The TECC select committee would be scrutinising the measures with regards to climate change to help support and shape the direction of travel.
· Work was currently being undertaken with the managers of the waste contract to improve the service.
· A trial would be starting to look at the feasibility of electric refuse vehicles.
· The council had a zero tolerance for fly tipping and there was no evidence to show that there was a relationship between charging at household recycling centres and an increase in fly tipping. A majority of fly tipping came from outside of the county.
· Work was being carried out with community boards, charities and schools for additional tree planting.
· The recycling rate was just under 60% and officers were working to bring the rate back to pre-pandemic levels.
· Government policy needed to help support the climate change work required.
In response to questions the following points were noted:
· Buckinghamshire had a strong history of enforcement with regards to fly tipping and there was now a broader range of enforcement powers available to the council. Consideration was being given to CCTV and new technologies with regards to surveillance in this area.
· Community Boards had an important role to play between the council and parishes. Funding and could support green planting in local areas.
· The Climate Change Strategy would be developed to include more specific information with costs and dates included. Members were encouraged to lobby government with regards to policy on climate change.
· It was suggested that an earlier date for net zero should be considered and a path to net zero and cost analysis be undertaken.
· The Council was the lead local flood authority and was responsible for smaller water courses, ground water and flood water. The Environment Agency were responsible for main rivers and monitoring the quality of the water.
· Consultation with outside bodies such as the fire authority with regards to electric vehicles would be undertaken to consider issues.
· The net carbon figure allows for a small amount of residual amount of emission to still be present but would require a negative emission source such as the tree planting programme.
The Chairman thanked the Cabinet Members for the information.
- Transport - TECC June 2021 v5, item 6. PDF 369 KB
- Environment Climate Change - TECC June 2021 v2, item 6. PDF 191 KB