MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND TRANSPORT SELECT COMMITTEE HELD AT COUNTY HALL, NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT ON TUESDAY, 3 APRIL 2001 COMMENCING AT 2.00 AM
Mr E Fox (Chairman), Mr C B W Chapman, Mr J Effemey, Mrs A E Hewitt, Mrs M A Jarman (deputising for Mrs J L Wareham), Mr P A Nightingale
Also Present (non voting) :
Mr A C Bartlett, Mr M G Barton, Mr J A Bowker, Mr G S Kendall, Mrs S A Smart
Mr M J Cunningham
THAT the minutes of the meeting held on 9 March 2001 be confirmed.
74. ACTION ON FLOODING
The Select Committee was advised by the Chief Executive of measures that had been put in place following flooding experienced on the Island in May and September 2000. This included the provision of cabinets in Ryde and Cowes to store sandbags for the use by local residents. Works were also being undertaken by the Environment Agency and Southern Water to upgrade pumping facilities in Ryde.
In response to recommendations of a National Flood Defence Emergency Response Group, an Operational Group was to be established on the Island to consider aspects connected with flooding incidents. The Council's Emergency Planning Section would be the initial point of contact. It was the intention of the Director of Environment Services to identify a member of staff to act as lead officer for flooding matters.
Members noted that both the Environment Agency and Emergency Planning were the subject of Government Reviews which might lead to redefinition of their statutory duties in respect of flooding. The results of these reviews were not expected until 2002.
In considering the Council's involvement in flooding, incidents members believed that the provision of sandbag cabinets in Samuel Whites Industrial Estate, Cowes and a location by the East Cowes Floating Bridge slipway should be investigated.
THAT the measures that have been put in place be supported, together with the continuing work to improve the co-ordination of services, which will ultimately benefit members of the community whose properties flood in the future.
75. INTEGRATED WASTE MANAGEMENT
The Director of Environment Services reported on the performance of Island Waste in the third year of the Integrated Waste Management Contract. The recovery rate for domestic waste was 46.09% against the contracted target of 28%.
Ms L Clarke, Community Liaison Officer from Island Waste, advised that the existing WDF Plant was being converted to a Resource Recovery Facility. This should enable a recovery rate of 50% to be attained in year 4 of the contract. She gave an outline of the operation of the black box and organic waste collection system. Members noted that the black box system would be extended in the summer to include glass and textiles. The Company would also be investigating methods of improving the recovery of commercial waste.
The Select Committee congratulated Island Waste on the style and content of its Annual Report.
THAT the performance to date be noted.
76. URGENT BUSINESS - UNDERCLIFF DRIVE, ST LAWRENCE
The Chairman asked officers to update the Select Committee on the land movement over the weekend which affected highways in the Undercliff Drive area of St Lawrence. There were three main areas concerned and the Director of Environment Services indicated the severity of the problems at each site. Due to the extent of the land movement and the continuing instability of land, it would not be possible to undertake works to enable the road to be used by vehicular traffic in time for the summer. The Director hoped that a temporary facility could be provided for residents so to maintain access to their property and suitable alternative routes for pedestrians.
Investigatory works were to be undertaken to ascertain the ground conditions so that engineering solutions and costs could be assessed. The Select Committee noted that there would be a need to carry out works to the route for diverted traffic through Whitwell. The highways capital programme would have to be amended to reflect this.
It was intended to hold a further meeting with residents, once further assessments had been completed, and this would also involve the spokesperson, Chairman of the Select Committee and local member.
THAT the report be noted.
77. RURAL BUS SUBSIDY GRANT - CONSULTATIVE RESPONSES
The Director of Environment Services reported on the background to the bus services operated on the Island through the use of a Rural Bus Subsidy Grant. The DETR had announced an increase in such funding from 2001/2002 onwards. The conditions applicable for such grant had been revised and this could prove to beneficial in improving service provision. The Director also advised that a bid had been submitted to the Countryside Agency for appropriate funding so that a Rural Transport Partnership Officer could be appointed. Such a post would assist in the establishment of a Rural Transport Partnership.
A consultation exercise had been undertaken so to identify potential areas where such grant aid could be utilised following the revision by Southern Vectis to its winter network.
Mr A White and Mr P Wheeler of Southern Vectis advised the Select Committee of the Company's intentions with regard to its summer services. This would be mainly based on the existing timetable but with the inclusion f some journeys with open topped vehicles.
Mr White referred to the difficulties that the Company were experiencing in the operation of its services. These mainly related to congestion and cable laying works. With regard to improved integration of transport services Mr White indicated his willingness to be involved in any meeting called by the Council with cross Solent operators and Islandline on this issue. He also clarified the use of certain roads by the Company.
The Chairman invited comments from Mr D Vincent of the Isle of Wight Bus Users Group and Mrs A Holbrook who was undertaking a transport study on the Island for the Church of England. Mr Vincent indicated that following the introduction of the winter timetable there had been very little complaint from regular users. Mrs Holbrook believed that additional services were required to ensure that people were not socially excluded.
Members discussed a range of issues connected with the provision of bus services. Concern was expressed as to the effectiveness of the Youth Mover Scheme.
(i) THAT the Select Committee records its thanks to individuals, Town and Parish Councils and other organisations who responded to the Council's consultation exercise.
(ii) THAT when expected government guidance is published the Director of Environment Services brings forward a report to outline ways in which the Wightbus fleet would be innovatively used to improve rural bus services, using Rural Bus Subsidy Grant, and the report to include proposals for a new Youth Mover Scheme.
78. MEMBERS' QUESTION TIME
Mr P Nightingale asked :
'Recently when driving round the Island, or visiting parks and amenities I am alarmed by the frequency I have seen wastepaper bins and dog scoop bins overflowing with rubbish, and with rubbish piled up around them. Can I ask if the contractors are underperforming or if we do not have sufficient funds allocated to allow the contractor to function effectively? If either are the reason for the problem can I further enquire if the problem will be worsened by the further provision of bins as allocated in the budget for 2001-2002'.
The Chairman replied that the Street Cleansing Contract with Island Waste which commences on 2 April 2001 includes increased frequencies for litter and dog bins in parks and gardens across the Island.
Frequencies for litter bins vary in the summer from daily to weekly with an intermediate standard of 3 times/week (M-W-F) and in winter from weekly to twice to twice per week (M-F).
Frequencies for dog bins are 3 times per week in summer (M-W-F) and twice per week in winter (M-F).
These new standards have been put in in recognition of the shortfall noticed by Councillor Nightingale and others.
The capital funding for replacement litter bins will not increase the revenue needed for emptying.