MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND TRANSPORT SELECT COMMITTEE HELD AT COUNTY HALL, NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT ON WEDNESDAY, 24 APRIL 2002 COMMENCING AT 9.30 AM
Mrs T M Butchers (Chairman), Mr J R Adams, Mr A C Bartlett, Mr C B W Chapman, Mrs B D Clough, Mr M J Cunningham, Mr J Effemey, Mr J H Fleming, Mrs M J Miller, Mrs E Oulton, Mr A F Tiltman
Mr E Fox
Also Present (non-voting) :
Mr J A Bowker, Mr P G Harris, Mr R G Mazillius, Mr V J Morey
THAT the minutes of the meeting held on 27 March 2002 be confirmed.
2. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Non pecuniary Interests were declared in minute 5(c) - Rural Bus Subsidy Grant - Consultation Process by Mrs T E Butchers; Mr M J Cunningham and Mr A T Tiltman.
3. PUBLIC QUESTION TIME
Mr L Lawrence, Chairman of IW Older Voices, submitted a question in relation to the closure of public toilets in the winter season (PQ38/02). A copy of the question and the reply given by the Chairman is contained in the Public Question Time Register.
4. URGENT BUSINESS - VARIOUS HIGHWAY ISSUES
The Chairman asked the Head of Engineering Services to update the Select Committee on progress in relation to Newport pedestrianisation, highways capital programme and the call centre.
The Head of Engineering Services indicated that it was originally proposed for this meeting to consider the results of the consultation process undertaken with regard to the Newport pedestrianisation scheme. Due to the volume of response received it was necessary to investigate further some of the points raised. The Head of Engineering Service confirmed that a report will be considered by the Select Committee at its meeting on 29 May 2002.
On the matter of capital schemes members were advised that a monthly spend profile would be prepared. The Council would be taking action to ensure that works were completed to programme. The Head of Engineering Services indicated that works required to the Ryde- Newport transport corridor were greater than first anticipated following the results of a deflectograph survey. This would have an effect on the ability of the Council to undertake works to the Cowes- Newport corridor in 2002/03.
The Select Committee was then informed that the Highways Call Centre was dealing with approximately 15,000 calls per month. At least 80% of these calls were answered within 4 rings and 95% within 8 rings.
THAT the matters be noted.
5. REPORT OF THE STRATEGIC DIRECTOR OF CORPORATE AND ENVIRONMENT SERVICES
(a) Specification for New and Replacement Street Lighting Laterns
The Select Committee was advised of the Council’s policy regarding the conversion of all street lighting stock to High Pressure Soduim (HPS) Laterns. This programme had now been completed with all 11,500 street lights converted. Additionally all new schemes were designed in accordance with the Institute of Lighting Engineers guidelines. This covered matters aimed at minimising light pollution. The Head of Engineering Services reminded members that in the recent Best Value Review the Council’s street lighting service had been shown to be in the top 10% of authorities.
The Chairman welcomed Mrs Pears, Secretary to the Vectis Astronomical Society, and Mr J Langley, Director of the Isle of Wight Observatory. They referred to the effect that light pollution caused by street and other lighting could have on the enjoyment of astronomy. There was no mandatory policy covering such issues but the Council’s Street Lighting Engineer did take into account the comments of the Society wherever possible. The Society was particularly concerned as to the effects of private security lighting, floodlighting and lighting used for commercial purposes. It was noted that there were Planning Policy guidelines on these matters.
(i) THAT the Planning Policy Task Group be requested to look at the relevant policies relating to lighting and light pollution.
(ii) THAT the Council’s use of High Pressure Sodium lanterns and the adherence tot he Institute of Lighting Engineers design guidelines to minimise light pollution be noted.
(b) Decriminalised Parking Enforcement
The Head of Engineering Services gave a presentation which outlined the details contained in a report prepared by the Council’s consultants RTA Associates Ltd, on the feasibility of decriminalised parking enforcement on the Island. The consultants report had been originally considered by the Select Committee in November 2000. Due to resourcing difficulties officers had not been able to undertake any further work on this matter.
The benefits that could accrue to the Council in traffic management terms were highlighted. In financial terms there would be a deficit in the short term. The start up costs of approximately £350,000, would come from funding received as part of the Council’s Local Transport Plan settlement. The actual process involved in establishing a decriminalised system would take up to 24 months, including relevant approvals from the DTLR. Consideration as to whether the operation of the service should be in house or through contractors would be need to be decided upon after such approvals had been obtained. The Head of Engineering Services believed that an implementation target date of April 2004 could be achieved.
Members discussed the urgent need to review the policy on residents parking schemes together with the on street/off street parking order. There were also concerns expressed about the incidence of dangerous parking on the Island.
The Select Committee was made aware that a large number of mainland authorities had decriminalised and it may prove to be beneficial to visit several of these in due course so to discuss the practical implications involved.
(i) THAT the Police be requested to take firm action in cases of dangerous parking.
(ii) THAT the Executive consider seeking powers to adopt decriminalised parking enforcement on the Island.
(c) Rural Bus Subsidy Grant - Consultation Process
(i) Chairmanship for this Item
The Chairman, Mrs T E Butchers, declared a non pecuniary interest in this matter and indicated that it would be necessary for her to vacate the chair and leave the room whilst it was being considered. At the Annual Council meeting the position of Vice Chairman had not been filled. It was therefore necessary for a Chairman to be elected for this item.
THAT Mr C B W Chapman be elected Chairman for this item.
(Mr Chapman thereupon took the chair)
(ii) Report on the Consultation Process
The Head of Engineering Services reported on the responses received in respect of a consultation exercise undertaken on Rural Bus Subsidy Grant subsidised services.
These services complemented the commercial network and a number of contracts were due to terminate on 30 September 2002. It was proposed to seek tenders for the continuation of all current services together with additional Sunday and weekday services in certain areas which meet the criteria for grant assistance.
The Select Committee noted that the results of the tendering process would be reported to the Executive on 2 July 2002.
(1) THAT the Select Committee be advised of the tenders received at its meeting on 26 June 2002.
(2) THAT the report be noted.
(Mrs T E Butchers re-entered the meeting and resumed the Chair)
6. FORWARD PLAN
The Select Committee noted the items coming within its area of reference contained in the Forward Plan for May to August 2002.
THAT the Forward Plan be noted.
7. MEMBERS QUESTION TIME
Mr M J Cunningham submitted questions in relation to :
(a) Newport Local Bus Service - Service 38 and 39 (MQ/31)
(b) Powered Two Wheeler Bikes (MQ/32)
(c) Powered Two Wheeler Bikes Park Off Street Town Lane (MQ/33)
A copy of the questions and replies given by the Chairman is contained in the Members Question Time Register.