Agenda and minutes

Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 21st September, 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 'D' - The Henry Bolingbroke Room, County Hall, Preston. View directions

Contact: Gary Halsall 

Media

Items
No. Item

County Councillor Azhar Ali replaced County Councillor Jackie Oakes for this meeting only.

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from County Councillor Stephen Clarke.

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 29 June 2023 pdf icon PDF 179 KB

Minutes:

Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on 29 June 2023 be approved as an accurate record.

4.

Road Closures pdf icon PDF 137 KB

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed to the meeting County Councillor Rupert Swarbrick, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Michael White, Highway Regulation Manager and Pete Bell, Regulation and Enforcement Manager.

 

The committee was presented a report which provided information on the type of decisions taken on traffic management by utility companies, including temporary traffic signals and temporary road closures. The report also included the county council's role in the decision making process as well as a brief overview of Lane Rental Schemes.

 

Comments and questions raised by the committee were as follows:

 

·  Members of the committee were encouraged to raise concerns with utility companies suspected of not following the statutory processes on road closures to officers.

·  Individual notices to county councillors were not provided for most temporary traffic signals placed. As the notice period required was only three days, it was seen as logistically challenging to send notifications to all county councillors that may have their division area affected. However, it was confirmed that this information was published into the public domain via the county council's MARIO website and on the One.Network website.

·  Members of the committee requested a list of contact numbers for utility companies and contractors that could be accessed to report issues with temporary traffic signals.

·  Legally, utility companies were responsible for the works they carried out on the highway network and didn't necessarily need permission to work on the county council's network. Utility companies provide essential services that everybody required and needed.

·  Utility companies are also legally responsible for the type of traffic management used. The county council could through the permit process apply conditions to the type of traffic management used in order to rectify any issues identified.

·  Utility companies were required to provide an information board at each set of works displaying relevant contact information. It was noted that utility companies that did not provide the necessary contact information could be given a defect notice or in some circumstances a fixed penalty notice.

·  To assist residents, a request for frequently asked questions about road closures on the county council's website was made.

·  It was confirmed that work carried out by utility companies on an A road with major traffic would be more heavily scrutinised by officers than work undertaken on a less major road such as an unclassified road.

·  The total amount of money received from charging utility companies that had taken longer than the agreed length of time to complete roadworks was over £800,000 for the previous financial year. Fixed penalty notices where utility companies had failed to fulfil conditions on permits for the previous financial year was over £200,000. It was noted the level of charges applied was set by central government.

·  Whilst there was no financial penalty in place for works that hadn't been reinstated properly, a defect regime was in place whereby a utility company could be charged in order for the county council to undertake additional inspections to ensure they were compliant. Current legislation required utility companies to re-do any work  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Parking Enforcement and Red Routes pdf icon PDF 228 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed to the meeting County Councillor Rupert Swarbrick, Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport and Peter Bell, Regulation and Enforcement Manager.

 

The committee was presented a report which provided an overview and update on civil parking enforcement, what can and cannot be forced, how officers are deployed and a budget overview for the last five years. A brief overview on red routes was also presented. A presentation was provided for the committee, and a copy is set out in the minutes.

 

Comments and questions raised by the committee were as follows:

 

·  On the process behind the designation of a specific red route in the West Lancashire area, it was noted that the red route along the A5209 had been created due to issues and safety concerns with increased parking and obstructions to footways along the side of the route since the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. It was highlighted that double yellow lines would have been insufficient for the purpose in this case as blue badge holders could park for up to three hours. In addition, the stretch of road was unsuitable for the placement of no loading bays. It was noted that there was a high bar for implementing red routes and for this particular route, a red route was deemed the right solution.

·  In future there could be the added benefit whereby a camera car could record any infringements enforced through Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR).

·  It was reported that some existing double yellow lines did not have the legal Traffic Regulation Order sealed against them either as a result of changes to the highway network or due to administrative error. This could result in a restriction being present without a written order being in place, which in some cases made it difficult to enforce parking restrictions as there was no physical evidence that the Order was in place. Civil Enforcement Officers could only enforce what they could see and didn't have access to the Orders in place. It was reported that the appeal process highlighted these instances and other anomalies on the network which would then be resolved. It was rare the Order was missing, and the majority of these issues related to anomalies with the detail in the Order or on the network.

·  It was clarified that a clearway was principally used for rural roads, with the enforcement only applying to the carriageway. Whereas a red route covered the entire extent of the highway with no stopping.

·  The reduced income from parking services to £1.47 million in 2022-23 from £2.59 million in 2018-19 was a result of traffic and parking not returning to pre-pandemic levels. The increase in hybrid working might have reduced the number of offenses taking place as more people were working from home.

·  It was highlighted that there was a total of 267 school zig zag enforcement zones in place across Lancashire. Out of 314 visits carried out by officers in 2022-23, 140 tickets were given to vehicles parked in these zones.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Tree Asset Management Plan pdf icon PDF 172 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed to the meeting County Councillor Shaun Turner, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, Mel Ormesher, Head of Asset Manager and Michael Anders, Tree Service Manager.

 

A report on the tree asset management plan was presented to the committee. This included the strategic approach for developing the county council's arboricultural assets over the life cycle of the plan and set out tree planting targets. Appendix 1 of the plan explained a number of policies for managing the assets and requests to prune or remove trees. A presentation was provided for the committee, and a copy is set out in the minutes.

 

Comments and questions raised by the committee were as follows:

 

·  It was highlighted that around one third of county council sites had been screened for trees as of September 2023.  Tree tagging was recorded in one of three ways: tagging individual standalone trees; compartmentalising woodland areas; or as groups if planted on the side of a road.

·  The process of identifying and plotting trees began in November 2022, officers aimed to inspect all trees on the highway network including those within falling distance of the highway every two years under the agreed Risk Management Procedure.

·  All enquiries related to tree management were handled through the Love Clean Streets App. The app enabled requests received to be directed to the relevant tree surveyor to investigate the reported incident.

·  Officers clarified that the best time to prune trees was during the middle of summer and the middle of winter subject to bird nesting.

·  It was noted that there was a small in-house team and three external contractors who carried out tree work.

 

Due to time constraints, the Chair requested that written responses be provided by the officers to the following questions:

 

·  On the woodland creation scheme, the Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change was quoted in a press release about working with districts. Is this a separate piece of work, as it was felt this work didn't come through strongly in the report?

·  It was not clear whether the district councils would be responsible for attending to reported issues with trees or the county council?

·  How this work related to public realm activity and the budget set aside for tree work undertaken with districts? How does this co-ordinate with highways public realm work for trees?

 

Resolved: That the Draft Tree Assets Management Plan be noted with no further recommendations from the committee at this time.

7.

Public Realm Agreements Task Group Recommendations - Cabinet Member Response pdf icon PDF 118 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The committee was presented the written response from the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport on the task and finish group's recommendations on Public Realm Agreements submitted in June 2023.

 

Resolved: That the formal written response from the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport on the Public Realm Agreements Task Group's recommendations be received.

8.

Work Programme 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 119 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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 2023/24.

 

Resolved: That the Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee's work programme for 2023/24 be noted.

9.

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.

10.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee will be held on Thursday 26 October 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 at 10:30am on Thursday 26 October in Committee Room B – The Diamond Jubilee Room, County Hall, Preston.