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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Kennet Committee Room

Contact: Leo Penry  Email: Leonora.Penry@wiltshire.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

93.

Election of Chairman 2022/23

To elect a Chairman for the forthcoming year.

Minutes:

Nominations were sought for a Chairman for the forthcoming year. On the nomination of Councillor Bill Parks seconded by Councillor Dr Brian Mathew, it was,

Resolved:

To elect Councillor Jerry Kunkler as Chairman of the Environment Select Committee for the municipal year 2022-23.

94.

Election of Vice-Chairman 2022/23

To elect a Vice-Chairman for the forthcoming year.

Minutes:

Nominations were sought for a Vice-Chairman for the forthcoming year. On the nomination of Councillor Dr Brian Mathew seconded by Councillor Derek Walters, it was,

Resolved:

To elect Councillor Bob Jones as Vice-Chairman of the Environment Select Committee for the municipal year 2022-23.

95.

Apologies

To receive any apologies or substitutions for the meeting.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Ian McLennan, Councillor Rich Rogers and Councillor Tony Jackson. Councillor McLennan arranged for Councillor Ricky Rogers to attend as a substitute.

96.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting

To approve and sign the minutes of the Environment  Select Committee meeting held on 8 March 2022.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 8 March 2022 were presented for consideration. Councillor Derek Walters requested that a comment he had made about wind farms in response to the Climate Emergency Task Group Update be added to the minutes, and it was;

 

Resolved:

To approve and sign as a true and correct record of the minutes of the meeting held on 8 March 2022 with the addition of the comments regarding wind power.

 

The Chairman noted that the requested visit to the Sands Farm Materials Recycling Facility, documented in the minutes of the previous meeting, needed to be delayed due to ongoing operational issues affecting the waste collection services. The Chairman also noted a delay to the visit the Hills waste management operation as it needed to clear a large backlog of material following the industrial action in March. Provisional dates between 4 and 15 July were being agreed with Hills and further information would be shared with Committee members in due course.

97.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

98.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements through the Chair.

Minutes:

Recent meetings

 

The Chairman commented on meetings he had attended since the last

Environment Select Committee meeting in March 2022. The Chairman had attended Overview & Scrutiny Management Committee on 22 March 2022 and 19 May 2022. The Chairman had received briefings on the following:

 

                22 April 2022 - Allocation of Community Infrastructure Levy (CiL) Fund

                22 April 2022 - Proposed changes from CATG to LHFIG

                6 June 2022 - New Forest National Park Management Plan

 

In addition, on 19 May 2022, the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee received a report regarding proposed changes to how Overview & Scrutiny engages with financial, corporate and organisational matters. The Chairman drew the attention of the committee to the following points:

 

                Financial Planning Task Group’s focus will remain on the council’s overall financial position, but will also review, by exception, the financial implications of our biggest contracts.

                Select Committees will continue to focus on the service impacts of proposals, but retain their ability to query and flag any financial concerns they identify, and refer them to OS Management Committee for further investigation as appropriate.

99.

Public Participation

The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public.

 

Statements

If you would like to make a statement at this meeting on any item on this agenda, please register to do so at least 10 minutes prior to the meeting. Up to 3 speakers are permitted to speak for up to 3 minutes each on any agenda item. Please contact the officer named on the front of the agenda for any further clarification.

 

Questions

To receive any questions from members of the public or members of the Council received in accordance with the constitution.

 

Those wishing to ask questions are required to give notice of any such questions in writing to the officer named on the front of this agenda no later than 5pm on Tuesday 7 June 2022 in order to be guaranteed of a written response. In order to receive a verbal response questions must be submitted no later than 5pm on Thursday 9 June 2022. Please contact the officer named on the front of this agenda for further advice. Questions may be asked without notice if the Chairman decides that the matter is urgent.

 

Details of any questions received will be circulated to Committee members prior to the meeting and made available at the meeting and on the Council’s website.

Minutes:

There was no public participation.

100.

Update on the Wiltshire Towns Programme

Wiltshire Council have allocated funding to support high streets between 2021-2025. This report updates on activity to date and plans for the future to support the creation of viable high streets which meet the needs of the community and can adapt for the future.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The update on the Wiltshire Towns Programme was delivered as a presentation, not a report, as set out in the agenda.

 

The item was introduced by Corporate Director Place, Parvis Khansari. He outlined that the Towns Programme had been in planning for some time but had been delayed by the Covid Grants Scheme. The Director stated that they were now able to roll out the Towns Programme.

 

Head of Economy and Regeneration, Victoria Moloney, delivered the presentation. This included points such as the importance of the retail sector in Wiltshire, the discussions with Town Councils and key stakeholders, the framework of the programme and existing projects.

 

Officers responded to a number of questions and comments from the Select

Committee which included the following areas:

 

·       Whether tourism could be promoted more due to the number of artefacts in Wiltshire. It was explained that the Government’s Tourism Recovery Programme scheduled a four year return to normal and that work was being done with Visit Wiltshire off that basis. There would be a focus on structural changes to the marketability and sustainability of tourism in Wiltshire.

·       The link between the Towns Programme and other council policies, like active travel. It was clarified that officers were linking to other work groups and ensuring that they met shared aims where possible.

·       That the Market Towns Forum would be returning after the pause due to the pandemic. It was outlined that the model may change a bit, moving away from briefings and more towards exercise and discussion. Meetings taking on a specialism focus were also being considered to group similar towns; however officers would not want to restrict who the towns can have discussions with.

·       Work being undertaken in Chippenham with the Town Council to understand their priorities and action plan in a similar exercise to the Future Highstreets programmes in Salisbury and Trowbridge. In response to questions the Head of Economy and Regeneration stated that she was happy to ensure that Neighbourhood Plan connects with that. The officer also highlighted that there was a balance to be struck between helping businesses survive in the short term and supporting them to become sustainable looking towards the future.

·       There was cooperation and support from other departments within Wiltshire Council and the Economy and Regeneration department would be engaging more going forwards.

·       The effectiveness of publicly supported one-off events, for example in Salisbury.

·       The next steps of the programme, starting with the creation of an activity generation plan with workshops and advice to support Town Councils, then actioning the plans with funding. Existing business support organisations would be utilised to ensure businesses can access funding. There was an awareness of potential capacity issues, which were being looked into.

·       Concerns over limitation of existing projects to dress up town centres and lack of flexibility to fit support to the specific area due to differing needs. It was clarified that the existing contract was unfortunately a set framework, but that this was not the preferred model going forwards and feedback  ...  view the full minutes text for item 100.

101.

Bus Strategy/Bus Improvement Plan

To update the Environment Select Committee on the Council’s progress on a number of public transport projects. The report also provides updates on potential future developments.

 

This follows on from a briefing given to the select committee on the Future Bus Strategy – Connected Wiltshire on 7 September 2021.

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Transport Waste Street Scene and Flooding, Councillor Dr Mark McClelland introduced the report which covered a challenging year in passenger transport. The Cabinet Member outlined that the numbers had recovered a bit but were still 70/80% of the level prior to the pandemic. The government had extended the Bus Recovery Grant but Passenger Transport still faced issues such as driver shortages and fuel price rises.  The committee was also informed that Wiltshire Council had missed out on the latest funding round from DfT but would use the work for future bids. Head of Service Passenger Transport, Jason Salter, clarified that the work would be updated every six months and would use the feedback from the DfT since the report was published.

 

The Cabinet Member and Head of Service Passenger Transport then responded to questions on the following topics:

 

·       Whether there was an improvement on shortage of drivers impacting services. It was clarified that there was an improvement, but a number of drivers continued to leave the market leading to bus companies running reduced services and unable to expand.

·       The importance of buses to the night time economy, for both punters and workers, and coordination between bus and train services.

·       Integrated transport and how best to utilise and publicise that.

·       It was clarified that Wiltshire Council had received £671,000 just at the start of the pandemic to enhance the bus service throughout the county. However due to the impact of the pandemic it was the money had to be used to support services that were going to cease as opposed to introducing new schemes.

·       The issue of reliability of buses as a deterrent for increased use. It was explained that the bus industry recognised that and that within S106 money there was an allocation to improve public transport, although the driver shortage remained an issue.

·       Demand Response Transport and consideration of different models of public transport provision. It was explained that an app would be trialled for that in the Pewsey area, but driver shortage remained an issue in expanding services. It was stated that DRT was seen as part of long term strategic planning in Passenger Transport.

 

Resolved:

 

That the select committee,

 

1.    Notes the outcome of our Bus Service Improvement Plan funding bid, that we have made an Enhanced Partnership and that we are seeking alternative Funding Streams.

 

2.    Notes that we are progressing work on implementing our successful Rural Mobility Fund bid.

 

3.    Notes that we have committed our Supported Bus Services Fund to secure routes that would otherwise have ceased to run.

 

4.    Notes that we are contributing to the development of Local Transport Plan 4.

 

5.    Notes that costs related to the passenger transport sector continue to rise significantly, contributed to by the lack of available drivers.

 

6.    Notes that passenger numbers are only at around 75% of pre covid levels in Wiltshire.

 

7.    Receive a further update, at a date to be determined, about progressing the Bus Service Improvement Plan and the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 101.

102.

Active Travel

As discussed at the ESC-Executive meeting on 21 September 2021, regarding the transport and highways portfolios, the select committee has received a report on the council’s active travel programmes.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The report was introduced by the Cabinet Member Transport Waste Street Scene and Flooding, Councillor Dr Mark McClelland who stated Wiltshire Council’s ambition for more active travel and highlighted the existing schemes. 

 

The following points were addressed by the Cabinet Member and officers:

 

·       Wiltshire Council was not awarded any grant funding within tranche three but would be submitting for future rounds of funding.

·       That officers met with cycling groups, but early engagement was especially important.

·       The LCWIPs were going to consultation shortly and would then sit within the local transport plan.

·       The best way to communicate about the schemes to ensure that it is clear that money is not diverted from other areas of Wiltshire Council but comes from specific national grants.

·       The need for updated maps and complete cycle routes. Officers clarified that connected cycle routes were the long-term plan but required more funding to deliver.

·       The need for multiple approaches to support active travel using a combination of speed limit reduction, cycle paths, training riders to be more confident on the roads. Officers clarified that whilst speed assessments to lower the speed limit could take time they were necessary as changes to the speed limit had to be enforceable.

·       The need for better data on the rights of way network.

·       How to avoid landowners blocking cycle routes. Officers outlined that they were looking at longer term leases.

·       Bike charging for electric bikes, it was clarified that consultation would begin on a scheme in Salisbury.

·       Officers clarified that night working for when road works were required for new active travel schemes was often not an option as it would take a much longer period of time to complete the works.

·       The Cabinet Member agreed to write to the secretary of state regarding a national overview of the active travel routes developing across the country.

·       That there was no current data on the by ways or immediate plans to collect it as resources would need to be diverted.

 

 

Resolved:

 

That the select committee,

 

1.             Welcomes the work being undertaken on active travel and the development of Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans (LCWIP).

 

2.             Notes the establishment of the Active Travel Steering Group.

 

3.             Recognises the potential for increased active travel through the development of a strategy in connection with the development of LTP4.

 

4.             Ask the Cabinet member to write to the Secretary of State to encourage the development of a national approach to cycle routes and joining up routes across local authority boundaries.

 

5.             Receives a further update on active travel in 12 months’ time.

103.

Climate Emergency Task Group

To receive an update from the task group on its work since March 2022.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Councillor Graham Wright, Chairman of the Task Group, who provided an update on the work of the Climate Emergency Task Group since March 2022. The Chairman outlined that the Task Group had met with the Woodland Trust and Avon Needs Trees, as well as British Army Sustainable Briefing. 

 

In response to questions in was clarified that Wiltshire Council was looking at where best it could place trees, solar farms and wind farms. It was stated that Wiltshire Council was engaging with network distributers to ensure adequate grid capacity for more solar farms. The Chairman of the Task Group also explained that Ash dieback was being monitored when the impact of new tree planting was considered. The difficulty in converting Task Group work to policy was also raised.

 

The Chairman of the Task Group stated that they would be happy to start a conversation surrounding the use of biogas and the potential to integrate that with collection of food waste.

 

The Committee thanked the Task Group for all their work.

 

Councillor Wallis left the meeting at 12:50.

 

Resolved:

 

That the committee,

 

1.    With the commencement of the 2022/23 Council year, re-appoints the Climate Emergency task group and the membership listed in the report.

 

2.    Notes the update on the Task Group activity provided above.

 

3.    Notes the activity of the Task Group (June 2021/June 2022)

 

4.    Notes the Task Group’s draft forward work plan and that bio-gas and the Local Transport Plan are added to the plan

104.

Forward Work Programme

To note and receive updates on the progress of items on the forward work programme.

 

Under the revised Overview and Scrutiny (OS) arrangements there is now a single OS work programme controlled by the OS Management Committee, linked to priorities in the Business Plan.

 

Therefore it should be noted that, whilst any matters added by Members are welcome, they will be referred to the OS Management Committee for approval before formal inclusion in the work programme for the Environment Select Committee.

 

A copy of the Overview and Scrutiny Forward Work Programme for the Environment Select Committee is attached for reference.

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

To approve the Forward Work Programme, subject to any additional items agreed by Committee at today’s meeting.

105.

Urgent Items

Any other items of business which the Chairman agrees to consider as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

106.

Date of Next Meeting

To confirm the date of the next scheduled meeting as 13 July 2022.

Minutes:

The next meeting of the Environment Select Committee will take place at 10:30am on 13 July 2022.

 

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