MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND TRANSPORT SELECT COMMITTEE HELD AT COUNTY HALL, NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT ON WEDNESDAY, 24 OCTOBER 2001 COMMENCING AT 9.30 AM
Mrs T M Butchers (Chairman), Mr J R Adams, Mrs B D Clough, Mr M J Cunningham, Mr J H Fleming, Mrs M J Miller, Mrs E Oulton, Mr A A Taylor (deputising for Mr J Effemey), Mr A F Tiltman, Mrs J L Wareham
Mr A C Bartlett, Mr J Effemey
Mr E Fox, Mrs B Lawson
Also Present (non voting) :
Mr J A Bowker, Mr C R Hancock, Mr R G Mazillius, Mr V J Morey, Mrs S A Smart, Mr I R Stephens
THAT the minutes of the meeting held on 26 September 2001 be confirmed.
12. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
The following interests were declared :
Mr M J Cunningham declared a non pecuniary interest in Minute 14.
Mrs E Oulton declared a pecuniary interest in Minute 14.
13. PRESENTATION OF PETITIONS
(a) Southern Vectis Service 33 - Havenstreet
Mr D Vincent, Honorary Secretary of the Isle of Wight Bus Users Group, presented a petition containing approximately 100 signatures seeking the reinstatement of an hourly bus service running from Ryde via Havenstreet to Newport.
The Chairman indicated that she would ask officers, together with the Portfolio Holder, to discuss the matter with Southern Vectis and reply to Mr Vincent and Mrs M Bishop, the organiser of the petition.
THAT the receipt of the petition be noted.
(b) Litter Problem - Ryde St Johns
The Chairman accepted a petition presented by Mr Bowker on behalf of his electorate which expressed concerns over the street sweeping schedule for roads in the Ryde St Johns area.
The Chairman indicated that she would ask officers to discuss the matter with the Council's contractors.
THAT the receipt of the petition be noted.
14. ISLAND 2000 TRUST
(Mrs E Oulton declared a pecuniary interest in this item and left the meeting following the presentation on the work of the Trust. Mr M J Cunningham declared a non pecuniary interest in this item).
The Executive Director of the Island 2000 Trust, Mr I Boyd, gave a presentation to the Select Committee on the work of the Trust. He indicated that the Council's funding for the Trust's projects through landfill tax credits came to an end in March 2002. Since its establishment in 1999 the Trust had been successful in attracting approximately £4m in funding for Island projects. Its work had also received national and international recognition. An outline of the Trust's projects and initiatives were outlined.
Mr Boyd indicated that the Trust was working towards self sufficiency for its core funding. This was unlikely however to be achieved before 2003 and it would therefore be necessary for the Trust to seek assistance in meeting a shortfall in funding of £30,000 in 2002/03.
In considering the report of the Strategic Director of Finance and Information the Select Committee was made aware that any financial support would be based on Service Level Agreements and a Business Plan and copies of these would be sent to members. The Resources Select Committee had established a Task Group to review procedures associated with grant allocations.
(i) THAT the value of Island 2000 Trust be acknowledged.
(ii) THAT the level of priority to a grant application be addressed when the Select Committee considers budget issues in January 2002.
15. REPORT OF THE STRATEGIC DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE AND ENVIRONMENT SERVICES
(a) Cowes Ferry
Members considered a report which gave an overview of the operation of Cowes Ferry. A number of recent key points since the commencement of operations in 1852 were highlighted. The Select Committee noted the current toll structure, usage and manning levels. In response to a query regarding the effect of discounted fares during winter evenings and Sundays officers indicated the increased levels of vehicles carried in comparison with previous years and that additional revenue had been generated.
Members discussed the matter of pedestrian tolls, which had been abolished in 1992. These were unlikely to be reintroduced due to the financial and practical implications involved.
Members were made aware of the need for the vessels to undergo a bi-annual refit. A review was being undertaken to ascertain if some of the work involved could be undertaken at other times thereby reducing the disruption.
It was noted that the increasing growth in river traffic affected the frequency of service. There was not sufficient demand to warrant any extension in the hours of operation.
Concern was expressed as to the condition of the waiting facilities. Officers indicated that they would investigate the replacement of the existing wooden structure at East Cowes with a bus shelter.
In discussing a number of other general issues the Select Committee believed that there may be a market for souvenirs related to Cowes Ferry.
The Spokesperson for Transport indicated that he would raise with Central Government the question of grant aid for Cowes Ferry similar to that provided in respect of the Woolwich Ferry.
The Select Committee considered that there were no aspects of the operation of Cowes Ferry which warranted further investigation at this stage.
THAT the report be noted.
(b) Public Information and Communications Regarding Highway Repairs
The Head of Highways and Transportation reported on revised procedures and systems that were being introduced to improve communications between his section and the general public. This had arisen due to the demands being placed on the existing service and the need to ensure that the Council was in a position to fully utilise the Local Transport Plan Settlement.
The Select Committee noted how telephone and written communications were to be handled using a computerised tracking system. It was anticipated that the system would be in operation from December 2001. This would also involve a process for dealing with road defects.
Better advanced publicity of major roadworks on the highway was proposed and this would extend to works by statutory undertakers. Arrangements were also in hand to improve the co-ordination of roadworks so as to avoid any conflicts. A review of contractual conditions for highway works was being carried out and matters such as bonus payments for every completion and extended hours of working were being investigated.
The Head of Highways and Transport referred to the adoption of a standardised ranking system for Capital Schemes. This would be based on an assessment of a number of factors including traffic flows, accidents, environmental considerations and cost benefit. Concern was expressed by members as to the standard of reinstatements and it was noted that officers had commissioned a risk audit study. This was aimed at reducing potential claims made against the Authority.
The poor condition of the Island's road network was stressed to the Select Committee. It was essential that the Council kept closely to the schemes identified in the Local Transport Plan in order to secure future Government funding.
The Select Committee welcomed the improvements proposed by the Head of Highways and Transport.
(i) THAT the report be noted.
(ii) THAT a further report be submitted on progress made in 6 months time.