MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND TRANSPORT SELECT COMMITTEE HELD AT COUNTY HALL, NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT ON TUESDAY, 24 FEBRUARY 2004 COMMENCING AT 9.30 AM
Mr G P Price (Chairman), Mr J R Adams, Mr A C Bartlett, Mrs B D Clough, Mr M J Cunningham, Mr J F Howe (deputising for Mr R C Richards), Mrs M A Jarman (deputising for Mr V J Morey), Mr A J Mundy, Mr A A Taylor (deputising for Mr R A Sutton)
Portfolio Holder :
Mrs T M Butchers, Mr E Fox
Mrs M J Miller, Mr V J Morey, Mr R C Richards, Mr R A Sutton
Also Present (non voting) :
Mr R G Mazillius
THAT the minutes of the meeting held on 26 January 2004 be confirmed.
56. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no declarations at this stage.
57. USE OF MECHANICALLY PROPELLED VEHICLES ON RIGHTS OF WAY
The Select Committee was reminded that at the meeting on 26 January 2004 consideration had been given to a consultation paper from the Department of Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on the use of mechanically propelled vehicles on rights of way. Arising from discussions on the seven proposals contained in the consultation paper, the Council’s Countryside Access Manager and the AONB Officer had been requested to prepare a written response to Defra taking into account a number of issues raised.
Members noted that the Local Access Forum had considered Defra’s proposals at its meeting on 5 February 2004. The Forum supported the broad principles contained in the consultation paper but expressed reservations about the lack of a specific cut off date. The views of the Council’s Archaeological Unit and English Heritage on damage being caused to ancient monuments had also been incorporated in the response.
In discussing the proposed response to Defra the Select Committee highlighted the role of the Police in the enforcement of any contravention by motorised vehicles on rights of way. Officers believed that at present there was no evidence to suggest anything other than a few isolated problems.
Members were aware of difficulties in the signage required in connection with traffic regulation orders on rights of way. It was felt that informal sympathetic signage should be developed to highlight to users of those rights of way where there could be a conflict between walkers, equestrians and vehicular traffic. The Head of Engineering Services indicated that safety improvements would only be considered where there was a proven need based on accident records and not on the perception of danger.
With regard to illegal use by motor vehicles on rights of way the Select Committee believed that this should be more closely monitored. This could involve obtaining relevant information from appropriate groups and organisations. If specific problems became apparent then the Police could be requested to take action.
(a) THAT the content of the Council’s response to the Consultation Paper be supported.
(b) THAT the results of Defra’s consultation process be reported back to the Select Committee when available.
(c) THAT officers contact all relevant groups and organisations on the monitoring of abuse by motor vehicles on rights of way so that this can be recorded.
(d) THAT appropriate sensitive signing be developed for use on rights of way to assist in highlighting shared facilities.
58. YOUTH MOVER ‘PLUS’ PILOT PROJECT – EXIT REPORT
The Select Committee was reminded that it had been advised, on 25 November 2003, of the interim findings of the Youth Mover ‘Plus’ Pilot Project. The project had concluded at the end of December 2003. Feedback on usage had been obtained from the 250 young people making use of the Youth Mover ‘Plus’ Card. The Project Manager for Wight Leisure explained that there had been a decline on usage during the pilot period between September to December 2003. This was mainly due to the winter evenings and card holders indicated that they would use the facilities more during the spring and summer. It was also noticeable that the decision to obtain a card was generally made by parents/guardians.
Members were advised that originally the card was only to be utilised in conjunction with accessing Wight Leisure facilities. It was apparent however that the card was also used for visiting friends, skateparks, shops and the cinema.
Southern Vectis, one of the partners involved in the project, had limited its use to after 5.00 pm on schooldays for free travel and half fare during holidays due to capacity implications on its services. Those using the card had however expressed the view that they would have used facilities more if free travel was permitted from 4.00 pm.
Members agreed that the pilot project had been worthwhile. It was now necessary to build on the findings to ascertain how this could be developed further, bearing in mind the budget position. The Head of Engineering Services referred to discussions currently being undertaken in respect of subsidised bus services, green travel plans and school travel plans. These might assist in finding inventive ways of utilising existing budgets.
The Select Committee considered that it was important to encourage other private partners to be involved in any Youth Mover Scheme. The ability to extend it to include cross solent travel should not be excluded.
(a) THAT the report be noted.
(b) THAT the Select Committee be kept informed of the continuing negotiations regarding the provision of bus services.
59. MEMBERS’ QUESTION TIME
Mrs B Clough asked if officers were aware of the ‘Wigley’ bus service being operated in Gloucestershire. The Head of Engineering Services indicated that details of this were being looked at.