Agenda and minutes

Transport, Economy and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 12th July, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Remote Meeting held via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Jonathan Spencer  01609 780780

Items
No. Item

126a

Minutes of the meeting held on 14 April 2021 pdf icon PDF 589 KB

Minutes:

That the Minutes of the meeting held on 14 April 2021 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

 

The committee’s Chairman, County Councillor Stanley Lumley, welcomed everyone to the meeting.  He reminded the committee that the meeting was being held informally and that any formal decisions would need to be taken in consultation with the Chief Executive Officer using his emergency powers.  This approach has been agreed by full Council and will be reviewed at its July 2021 meeting.

 

127.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest to note.

128.

Public Questions or Statements

Minutes:

There were no public questions or statements.

129.

Climate change impact assessment - progress to date pdf icon PDF 695 KB

Minutes:

Considered –

 

The written report of the Chief Executive to update the committee on the introduction of climate change impact assessment into the decision-making processes of North Yorkshire County Council.

 

Deborah Hugill presented the report. 

 

Deborah Hugill explained that climate change impacts in respect of the county council primarily focused on property and transport in view of those being where the largest emissions were that could be directly controlled at this stage.  She also referred in the report to the carbon reduction programme, Beyond Carbon, which was now being established as part of the Beyond 2020 change management structure.  There was also a one off £1 million fund for pump priming and development of business cases within the current budget as well.

 

The climate change impact assessment tool was introduced to not just look at the major aspects of work that the county council was doing, but also to take into account the impact that every decision that it made had upon making potential changes to the climate in the future.  The impact tool was based upon one used by Devon County Council. This was chosen because it was felt to be useable whilst being sufficiently detailed.

 

Deborah Hugill referred to the impact assessment tool at appendix one and the guidance at Appendix 2.  She explained that there was no intention that the impact assessment tool would replace more detailed statutory environmental assessments.

 

Whilst there was no legal requirement at the moment, the county council had examined what other councils were doing and most were in a similar position; all were trying to get a handle on how their decisions were making an impact and tweaking those decisions to ensure that we could mitigate any impact as much as possible., The tool was implemented last year as a pilot and then rolled out across the Council from August.

 

The county council’s democratic services department had incorporated the requirement  into their report template so that staff producing reports were prompted to use it.

 

Deborah Hugill explained that she was getting copies of many of the completed reports to scrutinise.  Overall the use of the template was most widespread within Business and Environmental Services Directorate as staff found it easier to see the impact of physical infrastructure rather than services related to people, even though there were impacts.

 

Climate change assessments were also expected to be undertaken in relation to the Beyond 2020 programme management projects and workstreams.  The County Council was also working with the LEP, North Yorkshire district councils and the City of York Council to develop a carbon literacy training program, with the intention of it rolling out to the different local authorities in the autumn.

 

The intention of the training was to help more people to understand the issues because all staff were contributing towards climate change and so needed to take responsibility for all the services that the county council delivered.

 

Deborah Hugill concluded by noting that the climate change impact assessment tool was a new  ...  view the full minutes text for item 129.

130.

Implementation of Active Travel schemes in the county pdf icon PDF 182 KB

Minutes:

Considered –

 

The written report of the Corporate Director – Business and Environmental Services Chief Executive to update the committee of the delivery of active travel schemes across North Yorkshire. 

 

Louise Anne Neale presented the report. 

 

Louise Anne Neale noted that in relation to walking and cycling the national policy background had changed quite considerably.  The focus from the Department for Transport was moving very much more towards providing active travel infrastructure, and this began in 2017 when the DfT launched its cycling and walking investment strategy.  Within that strategy was set out the need for local cycling and walking infrastructure plans. 

 

She went on to set out subsequent key policy announcements and the subsequent impact of the covid-19 pandemic generating new funding streams including the emergency Active Travel Fund and Active Travel Fund 2, which the County Council put in bids for and received funding for some of the projects put forward.   Active Travel Fund 3 had been announced recently.  The County Council was in a good position in applying to this and future funding streams because it now had detailed plans already worked up to a level of detail that most councils did not have.  Further funding was expected from the Department of Transport.

 

2030 was a key milestone date as that was when there was scheduled to be a ban on the sale of petrol and diesel-powered vehicles.  It was expected that funding would be available to local authorities to provide other modes of transport, as well as helping people to move to electric vehicles.  The active travel agenda was likely to remain a priority and probably even more so than when the most recent lot local transport plan was written back in 2016. 

 

The County Council would be reviewing its local transport plan as well to ensure that it was up-to-date, setting out its aspirations for providing for walking and cycling and linking into the changing policy environment.

 

Members made the following comments:

 

County Councillor David Jeffels referred to the significant increase in the number of cyclists on the road and related concerns about cyclist putting themselves at risk because of the volume of traffic.  He asked if there were means to extract more funding from house builders to provide safe routes for cyclists.  It would be useful if there was a survey of schemes that could be introduced beyond those already funded to date.  He asked Louise Anne-Neale whether she thought that North Yorkshire County Council should put more pressure on developers at the present time to do this. 

 

Louise Anne Neale replied in the affirmative.  She said that there was a need to start looking at all of the ways that the council can fund these schemes, and one of those will definitely be through working with developers to firstly make sure that their developments include active travel infrastructure.  Linked to this would be to establish where the council can work with developers to tap into funding to deliver offsite infrastructure as well. She  ...  view the full minutes text for item 130.

131.

Review of 20 mph Speed Limit Policy pdf icon PDF 506 KB

Minutes:

Considered –

 

The written report of the Corporate Director – Business and Environmental Services to provide an update the committee with an update on the preparation of a revised 20mph Speed Limit policy.

        

David Kirkpatrick presented the report.  

 

David Kirkpatrick explained that work was in progress now and referred to the report detailing the progress against each of the recommendations put forward by the committee arising from its review.  Since the review had been undertaken, the landscape had changed due to the covid-19 pandemic and as a result active travel had come to the fore and that might possibly increase the support for 20 mph initiatives.

 

Since the review was completed some of the recommendations in the committee’s report had been discharged and built into the policy or finalising elements of the same.

 

David Kirpatrick said that one of the key things he would like to put forward is for the inclusion of 20mph zones in the policy; the committees’ recommendations had centred only on 20mph speed limits.  It was intended for the new policy to bring the delivery of 20mph speed limits and 20mph speed zones under a single document.  The assessment criteria was much the same for both of them.

 

He went on to note that the policy would not be an extensive document. 

 

Members made the following comments:

 

The Chairman said he had received several enquiries from members of the public and schools since the committee’s recommendations had been approved about the process for applying for 20mph speed limits.  This also included schools that had tried but failed previously to get 20mph speed limits outside the school.  They were questioning how to go about the process of applying to have a 20mph scheme introduced, and what had changed materially as a result of the committee’s recommendations.  They wanted advice on what their chances would be on being successful in getting a 20mph scheme outside their school.  However, there did not appear to be a single point of contact within North Yorkshire County Council for advice and guidance to help local communities be guided through the process.  A single point of contact in the council was required.  He referred to school within his division that had been trying for several years to have a 20mph speed limit outside the school and had recently had another application rejected but with no clear understanding as to why it had been rejected.  He understood that there needed to be a technical element in decision-making about whether an area qualified based upon historical accident data.  However, decision-making should not just be about the numbers; it should also be about local perception and local need.  The latter seemed to have failed to have been taken forward at this stage and he was concerned about.  Whilst it was a challenge to square the circle of accident history data versus public perception, the committee in its report had felt strongly that local need should have more weight than it had previously; the statistical evidence should  ...  view the full minutes text for item 131.

132.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 862 KB

Minutes:

Considered -

 

The report of the Principal Scrutiny Officer asking the Committee to confirm, amend or add to the areas of the work listed in the Work Programme schedule (Appendix 1 to the report).

 

Jonathan Spencer introduced the report.

 

Jonathan Spencer reported that there were in effect two committee meetings left to discuss some of the more in depth subjects before the county council election in May 2022.  The April 2022 meeting would be in the purdah period and so only non-contentious items would be able to presented to that meeting.  The committee needed to establish what it wanted to prioritise therefore for discussion at the October 2021 and January 2022 committee meetings.  He suggested also that the mid cycle briefing meetings in September, December and February could be transferred into full committee meetings if required.  The committee needed to be satisfied prior to the county council elections that the work it had been leading on had been completed or at least was being addressed, including its recent task group reviews.  He noted that there was still a report outstanding on the implementation of the recommendations arising from the committee’s single use plastics review.  Another significant area of work to explore was in relation to the relevant recommendations of the North Yorkshire Rural Commission regarding transport, the economy and the environment.  The Chair of the North Yorkshire Rural Commission had been due to attend today’s meeting but had had to reschedule to a future meeting because today’s committee had been ahead of the official press launch of the report.

 

Resolved -

 

a)         That the work programme be noted

b)           That the North Yorkshire Rural Commission report and a report on North Yorkshire County Council’s Carbon Reduction Strategy be brought to the October committee meeting

c)           That the Chairman and Jonathan Spencer meet on the rise of the committee meeting to update the work programme. 

 

The meeting concluded at 11.55 am.

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