Agenda and minutes

Transport, Economy, Environment and Enterprise Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 1st February, 2024 10.00 am

Venue: Brierley Room, County Hall, Northallerton, DL7 8AD

Contact: Will Baines, Principal Democratic Services and Scrutiny Officer  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Paul Haslam (substitute Councillor George Jabbour).


Minutes of the Meeting held on 18 January 2024


Consideration of the minutes from the 18th January 2024 meeting was deferred to the April meeting date.


Declarations of Interest

All Members are invited to declare at this point any interests they have in items appearing on this agenda, including the nature of those interests.


Councillor David Jeffels declared a personal interest in agenda item 8 – ‘Bus Services in North Yorkshire’ as a Trustee of Scarborough Dial A Ride.


Public Participation

Members of the public may ask questions or make statements at this meeting if they have given notice (to include the text of the question/statement) to Will Baines, Principal Democratic Services and Scrutiny Officer (contact details below) no later than midday on Monday 29 January 2024. Each speaker should limit themselves to 3 minutes on any item.  Members of the public who have given notice will be invited to speak:-


·       At this point in the meeting if their questions/statements relate to matters which are not otherwise on the Agenda (subject to an overall time limit of 30 minutes);


·       When the relevant Agenda item is being considered if they wish to speak on a matter which is on the Agenda for this meeting.


If you are exercising your right to speak at this meeting, but do not wish to be recorded, please inform the Chair who will instruct those taking a recording to cease while you speak.



No public questions or statements were received.


Rural Connectivity pdf icon PDF 382 KB

Report deferred from the 19 October 2023 meeting.


Considered – Report of Robert Ling, Transformation Director and Alastair Taylor, CEO of NYnet to update on the progress of digital connectivity across North Yorkshire.


The key points highlighted in the report are as summarised below:


·         NYnet, the North Yorkshire owned telecoms company has delivered four phases of Superfast North Yorkshire contracts in conjunction with Building Digital UK (BDUK).


·         In 2009, superfast broadband coverage across North Yorkshire was at approx. 41%. By 2020, coverage had climbed to 94%, with a wireless contract awarded to Quickline in 2020 to increase coverage further by 2024.


·         North Yorkshire Council offers a free WiFi service in 21 market towns across the geography. The service started in 2021 with support from a Government grant to combat the impact of COVID-19. Currently the service across North Yorkshire attracts around 70k users per week and helps to track tourism in some market towns. Discussions are ongoing to look to extend the network.


·         A new ‘Project Gigabit’ has now been launched by BDUK to roll out gigabit-capable broadband to hard to reach premises. Procurement for available lots in North Yorkshire (31 and 8) is ongoing with contract awards expected shortly. It is hoped this will take coverage in North Yorkshire up to approximately 97%.


·         Voucher funding to act as help for people experiencing slow broadband speeds in rural areas has been paused in North Yorkshire. This is expected to reopen after the contract awards for any areas not covered, for other providers to offer demand-led projects.


·         The Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) has launched trials and a consultation around Very Hard to Reach premises (VHTR). It is likely that North Yorkshire will have a disproportionate amount of VTHR premises (above the average of 0.4%) due to its geography.  The solution for these premises will therefore be of the utmost importance. Alpha trials using Low Earth Orbit Satellite are taking place at Rievaulx Abbey, although superfast broadband has already been made available very close to this area through NYnet.


·         On mobile signal coverage, the county is lagging behind, with North Yorkshire 5G signal patchy despite a national rollout cycle being well underway. 4G is running at around 70%, so we have a significant challenge to face. The Shared Rural Network is progressing forwards but slowly, and officers continue to speak to mobile providers to try and improve the situation. There is a challenge around the siting of masts to facilitate this and install important infrastructure for the future in the best way possible.


·         Smart places are the next wave of innovation and transformation around how we use sensors and monitors as part of the local infrastructure.


·         Public phone boxes are being removed across the country by BT if they meet certain conditions as set out by OFCOM. Public phone boxes can be removed from the community should the area have good mobile coverage from the four major telecoms providers and they have made less than 52 calls in a twelve-month period. This then triggers a planning process  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Update on the Development of the New Local Transport Plan pdf icon PDF 376 KB

Additional documents:


Considered – Report of Louise Neale, Transport Planning Team Leader, to update on progress with developing a new Local Transport Plan.


Some of the key points highlighted in the report and presentation are as summarised below:


·         The Local Transport Plan (LTP) is a statutory document required of us by the Local Transport Act 2000. The existing LTP was adopted back in 2016, so since 2022 transport planning officers have been working towards a full redevelopment of the plan.


·         Whilst official guidance from the Department for Transport has yet to be published and is unlikely before a General Election, officers have been working on developing the LTP to the best of their knowledge, based on the limited advice coming out of government, and insight from within the transport planning sector. 


·         Public engagement took place in summer 2023 under the ‘Let’s Talk Transport’ banner, with an online survey and public events and meetings held to raise awareness and help people to complete surveys, either online, or on paper form. Almost 5,000 people participated in the public engagement, making it the highest level of response of all the ‘Let’s Talk’ activities so far.


·         There was a general dissatisfaction with transport in North Yorkshire, such as transport choice and the affordability of it, along with issues around road safety and climate change.


·         An improvement to public transport provision came out strongly, along with active travel provision and looking at highway maintenance.


·         A further 100 responses were received to a stakeholder questionnaire, with public transport again seen as a priority. Officers have met with stakeholders on an individual basis to have more detailed discussions.


·         Alongside this, staff sessions to get their views and two sessions with each Area Constituency Committee have also taken place.


·         A Headline Strategic Transport Prospectus is in production along with City of York Council colleagues. It is hoped that this will be ready in time for the election of the new Mayor for York and North Yorkshire in May.


·         The data collected is starting to help formulate policies and strategies.



Following this, comments and questions raised by the committee included:


·         Ensuring reference to equality issues for public transport is included as part of the final LTP document


·         Transport provision in rural areas is addressed within the new LTP and in particular how to support initiatives such as community transport to improve the local offer and provide choice for residents


·         When an operator makes a commercial decision with regard to the operation of bus services, will the development of the Local Transport Plan help to give residents choice for how to try and take some control and influence back.


·         Pavement size and maintenance to be taken into consideration to encourage walking for shorter journeys.


·         Ensuring routes are safe for those riding bikes and trikes, but also making it easier for them to be kept securely when making journeys into town centres or visitor attractions.


·         The Local Transport Plan is required to be an ambitious and aspirational document, so it becomes a business  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Climate Change Delivery Pathway pdf icon PDF 322 KB

Additional documents:


Considered – Report of Jos Holmes, Climate Change Strategy Manager, to feed back on the development of the draft Climate Change Delivery Pathway.


Some of the key points highlighted in the report are as summarised below:


·         Following the approval of the North Yorkshire Council Climate Change Strategy back in July 2023, officers are now in the process of creating the Climate Change Delivery Pathway (CCDP), outlining the key short-term (to March 2025) tasks and indicate the medium-term (to 2030) actions which will need to be undertaken to deliver the Strategy.


·         Proposed metrics in the form of outcomes and outputs are included under each section of the Strategy, as well as the potential return on investment. Most of the activities are following a business plan approach and run on an invest to save basis.


·         The development of Directorate Action Plans will support the identification of project sponsors for each task to ensure they are embedded within services, and ownership is taken.


·         The CCDP is a dynamic document. It will be constantly updated and reviewed to ensure that new opportunities presented by future political, economic, technical, and social changes are embraced.


·         Work on the adaptation section is ongoing and progress will be reported at a future stage.


·         Following the review by this committee, a community-based workshop will be undertaken to further engage our residents in developing the actions to be undertaken. It will then be reviewed by Management Board and the Executive.


Following this, comments and questions raised by the committee included:


·         It is good to see we are working with partners, such as the Yorkshire Marine Partnership to support projects such as the ‘Great Yorkshire Kelp Forest’.


·         In response to a question regarding plans for home insultation and how these would be funded, it was noted that we have legislative responsibilities as the landlord for a large number of domestic and non-domestic properties and are required to bring them up to particular energy performance standards. For most of operations, an invest to save approach is to be taken with regard to our property and fleet, such as property decarbonisation plans. Projects to combat poor insulation are taking place, such as a LEP study to look at hard to heat properties, e.g. Victorian terrace and also stone built properties in rural areas. The council has successfully applied for Home Upgrade Grant (HUG) funds to incentivise private households to apply to put in various energy efficiency measures. The council is also involved in a consultation exercise around the next round of HUG and the Local Authority Delivery (LAD) scheme, and will be advocating more flexibility with the grants and to feed back the difficulties faced in administering the scheme in a rural area such as North Yorkshire.


·         Further to this, work around listed buildings is taking place in conjunction with National Parks, to help support our Building Conservation Officers to give good advice on these matters.


·         It was understood that we cannot work in isolation on this, and it will be important to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Bus Services in North Yorkshire pdf icon PDF 873 KB


Considered – Report of the Corporate Director – Environment to provide the committee with an update on bus services in North Yorkshire.


Some of the key points highlighted in the report are as summarised below:


·         Bus services continue to be under significant pressure both locally and nationally following the Covid-19 pandemic. Passenger numbers have recovered to around circa 90% of pre covid levels, with this figure much lower for concessionary pass users at around 70%. This has particularly affected rural routes where older passengers represented a greater proportion of users.


·         There has also been a significant increase in operating costs along with national difficulties with recruiting bus drivers, engineering staff and sourcing spare parts. As a result of these added pressures, providers are reviewing their services more than ever before, resulting in commercial service level reductions and higher prices for routes operating under contract to the council.


·         North Yorkshire Council has maintained its support for local bus routes over recent years, spending over £1.6m each year on bus services. We are also accessing grant funding from central government which is helping to keep the current bus network running.


·         In rural areas there is no significant commercial network with services generally operating no more than two-hourly and with very limited, or no, evening and weekend services. Here bus services are largely financially supported by the Council, along with local community transport services and only very limited cross-boundary commercial routes.


·         In areas with limited commercial and subsidised provision the Council also works in partnership with communities to establish community-operated, timetabled bus services or local voluntary car schemes. These are mainly in the more rural districts of Craven, Hambleton, Richmondshire and Ryedale. Community transport is typically small-scale, requires some subsidy and is heavily reliant on continued volunteer involvement to operate.


·         Regular reviews are undertaken of the local bus services in receipt of financial support.  As part of the formal review process, key stakeholders such as local members and parish councils are invited to contribute regarding service provision in their area.


·         North Yorkshire Council expenditure on tendered bus services, community and demand responsive transport and concessionary travel is forecast to be over £9m for 2023/24. The Council is required to reimburse operators for concessionary journeys made by bus pass holders as part of the statutory national scheme and this alone accounts for over £6m of spend.  The remainder supports local bus routes, community transport and park and ride services.


·         Around a third of bus services have seen timetable reductions since the pandemic or have required additional financial support to maintain services. The Council is also receiving grants from the Department for Transport (DfT) to support previously commercial bus routes that would otherwise already have been withdrawn due to fewer passengers travelling and rising costs.


·         While higher operating costs and a reduction in the number of trips being made by older passengers continues to put pressure on our rural bus services, we believe through a combination of council funding and these DfT grants  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 212 KB

Purpose of the report:  To ask Members to consider, amend and add to the Committee’s work programme.


Considered -


The following comments were made:


·       That a follow up be requested on work previously referenced by the Executive Member for Managing Our Environment on Net Zero Innovation funding to study the tree planting supply chain.


·       That a representative from Yorkshire Water be invited to a future meeting.


Resolved -That the comments made on the work programme be noted and updated accordingly.




Any other items

Any other items which the Chair agrees should be considered as a matter of urgency because of special circumstances.


There were no further items of business.