Agenda and minutes

Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 16th March, 2023 10.30 am

Members of the public are welcome to attend our meetings to watch them in person at any of the venues across the County. Publicly accessible meetings held in County Hall will be webcast, which means they are available to be watched live or recorded on our website. Please see our webcasting notice here. The Committee may, in certain circumstances, resolve to hold part of the meeting in private. If this is the case, you will be required to leave the meeting.

Venue: Committee Room 'B' - The Diamond Jubilee Room, County Hall, Preston. View directions

Contact: Gary Halsall 

Note: Due to a technical problem with livestreaming the webcast, we will publish a recording of this meeting later today. 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from County Councillor Gina Dowding and County Councillor Steve Holgate.

The Chair announced that Item 5 - Work Programme 2022/23 would be taken as the first main item of business.

2.

Disclosure of Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Interests

Members are asked to consider any pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests they may have to disclose to the meeting in relation to matters under consideration on the agenda.

Minutes:

None were disclosed.

3.

Minutes of the Meeting Held on 26 January 2023 pdf icon PDF 392 KB

Minutes:

Resolved: that the minutes of the meeting held on the 26 January 2023 be approved as an accurate record.

5.

Work Programme 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 259 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed to the meeting County Councillor Rupert Swarbrick, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport and Kirstie Williams, Highways Group Manager – Countywide Maintenance.

 

The committee was presented a report which provided members of the Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee with the committee's work programme for 2022/23.

 

Copies of the formal written responses from the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport to the committee's recommendations on the following topics were also set out in the report:

 

·  Highway Safety Inspection Policy, KPIs and lovecleanstreets app.

 

·  Reviewing of charging for attachments to lighting columns.

 

In receiving the formal written responses, the following points were raised:

 

·  On return visits to previous pothole repairs, it was noted that the 5% quality audit of all repairs carried out both by LCC and its sub-contractors would be shared with the committee. It was noted that fundamentally officers were working areas where there were substantial numbers of potholes as opposed to dealing with single repairs.

·  Officers highlighted that a return visit to cleanse a gully did not mean that there was a failure of the service to cleanse, it could be related to constant blocking by silt and the number of incidents the gully had been subject to extreme levels of surface water due to intense rainfall. The committee noted that this measurement was not attributed to performance. Information on this would be available on the new forthcoming member dashboards. The majority of gully's did not need recurring visits for cleansing and any that did were recorded on the cyclical cleansing programme which was reviewed on an annual basis.

·  It was noted that to date, the Public Rights of Way element of the Love Clean Streets app had not been launched.

·  On appendix C, it was noted that communication regarding charging for one licence fee per event that took place had been sent out to local parish and town councils.

·  On the potential to increase officer inspections to help reduce reliance on the public to report repairs, it was reported that this would not be possible given the current challenge around resources. The committee was informed that the county council made the best use of resources available including cyclic inspections and daily inspections carried out by highways safety inspectors.

·  It was reported that the Cabinet Member supported the committee's recommendation to request a change in legislation and lobby the Secretary of State to extend the defect liability period currently applied to reinstatements by utility companies.

·  Officers clarified that the cyclic cleansing programme for gully's would go out to tender in the next two months for delivery around the summer of 2023.

·  The committee requested a Bite Size Briefing on the Bus Service Improvement Plan and how the new public transport system works, and the different funding streams involved.

 

Resolved: That;

 

1.  The work programme for 2022/23, including progress relating to the Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee's recommendations be noted.

 

2.  The formal written responses received from the Cabinet Member for Highways and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

4.

Management of Lancashire County Council Countryside Sites. pdf icon PDF 271 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed to the meeting Tim Blythe, Countryside Sites Manager and Andrew Mullaney, Director of Environment and Planning.

 

A report on the Management of Lancashire County Council Countryside Sites was presented to committee members. Lancashire County Council owns 82 countryside sites across Lancashire, with 37 sites being used for recreational purposes and 45 sites for tree planting to develop urban green space.

 

The majority of the sites were acquired between 1960s and 1980s through land reclamation activities or the delivery of landscape, wildlife and recreation strategies.  Sites are owned across all the Lancashire district areas apart from Fylde. In addition, a total of 15 buildings were also in the County Council's portfolio. These included visitor centres, study centres, toilet facilities, ranger offices and a grade 2 listed ruin of Wycoller Hall.

 

The countryside sites service carried out work on the maintenance of County Council sites in terms of litter management and vegetation clearance, as well as a planned programme of cyclical repairs through activities such as gate refurbishment, fencing, car park surfaces and emergency access points. The service also responded to events that required immediate attention, including extreme weather events, anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.

 

In 2022/23 the countryside sites service net budget was £525,000. Over the last few years an additional £800,000 of external grant funding had also been received to support renewal projects on sites.

 

A presentation was also delivered at the meeting, and a copy is set out in the minutes.

 

Comments and queries raised were as follows:

 

·  In response to one member who asked about the cost to operate paid car parks on applicable sites, it was noted that car park machines generated on average £30,000 a year, with machines costing £8,000 each to install and lasting on average 10-15 years. Any income generated from the machines or other aspect such as the sale of tree cuts went into one general budget for all managed sites. It was noted that the parking meter at Wycoller Country Park had not been in use for some time and the issue was currently being investigated by the parking services team at the county council. Members felt that this issue should be resolved promptly.

·  The contribution of local groups and voluntary organisations on the upkeep of the sites and reporting any issues was highlighted. In particular, the Life for a Life memorial forests charity occupied portions of countryside service sites and maintained their patches and the wider environment.

·  On the total number of visitors to countryside sites, it was reported that car counters were previously in use, however these were no longer needed.

·  In response to a query on charging visitors who walked to countryside sites, officers commented that enforcing this was not practical due to a lack of monitoring capability and legislation.

·  Officers highlighted that close to Fleetwood Marsh Nature Reserve, United Utilities were cutting back vegetation and clearing fly tipping that had occurred, the number of complaints over fly tipping had since reduced because of the use  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

6.

Urgent Business

An item of urgent business may only be considered under this heading where, by reason of special circumstances to be recorded in the minutes, the chair of the meeting is of the opinion that the item should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency. Wherever possible, the chief executive should be given advance warning of any member's intention to raise a matter under this heading.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

7.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee will be held on Thursday 27 April 2023 at 10:30am in Committee Room B – The Diamond Jubilee Room, County Hall, Preston.

Minutes:

The next meeting of the Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee would be held on Thursday 27 April 2023 at 10:30am in Committee Room B – The Diamond Jubilee Room, County Hall, Preston.