MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND TRANSPORT SELECT COMMITTEE HELD AT COUNTY HALL, NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT ON WEDNESDAY, 27 NOVEMBER 2002 COMMENCING AT 2.00 PM
Mrs T M Butchers (Chairman), Mr J R Adams, Mrs B D Clough, Mr M J Cunningham, Mr J Effemey, Mr J H Fleming, Mr V J Morey, Mrs E Oulton, Mr A F Tiltman
Mr A C Bartlett, Mr C B W Chapman, Mr E Fox, Mrs M J Miller
Also present (non-voting) :
Mr P D Joyce, Mr R C Richards
THAT the minutes of the meeting held on 30 October 2002 be confirmed.
50. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were no declarations made at this stage.
51. QUIET LANES INITIATIVE
The Chairman welcomed Professor Dennis Russell, Chairman of the Island branch of the CPRE, Mr John Pewsey a Brading Town Councillor and Mrs Jean Hadley, a resident of one of the quiet lanes in Adgestone.
The Head of Engineering Services outlined that Quiet Lanes was a Countryside Agency initiative and was aimed at minor rural roads where a variety of road users on foot, horses or cycles came into conflict with vehicular traffic. A pilot scheme had been recently introduced in Upper Adgestone Road and Lower Adgestone Road, Adgestone following consultations involving Brading Town Council. An outline was given of the works involved in the pilot scheme which also included an advisory 15 mph speed limit. Problems had been encountered with the repeater signs for the advisory limit and it was hoped that these would shortly be installed.
Members of the Select Committee had taken the opportunity of viewing the works in Upper Adgestone Road that morning whilst on a Roads Tour.
Professor Russell indicated that the Island Branch of the CPRE believed that some confusion arose with regard to the speed limit along the roads involved. The Branch considered that a mandatory limit of 20 mph should be implemented. Problems were also experienced with vehicles degrading grass verges and banks. The installation of rumble strips should be investigated throughout both roads. There was also a need to consult fully with the AONB Officer so to ensure that any measures incorporated in such schemes were sympathetic with the location.
Mrs Hadley referred to the speed of traffic using Upper Adgestone Lane. In addition residents understood that road markings were to be provided where rights of way emerged onto the carriageway.
Mr Pewsey indicated that there was a need for passing places so that vehicles did not have to cause damage to verges.
The local member for Newchurch, Mr C R Richards, indicated that Newchurch Parish Council had not been consulted on the scheme although it affected the area. He felt that there would be difficulty with enforcing any speed limit, whether advisory or mandatory but the nature of the roads meant that vehicle speeds were low. It was important to ensure that other road users were not given a false sense of security when walking or riding in such roads.
The Head of Engineering Services advised the Select Committee that the scheme would be monitored in March 2003. This would involve a vehicle count and speed measurements so that these could be compared with those taken prior to the implementation of the Quiet Lane scheme.
The Select Committee, taking into account the comments made during the meeting, believed that it would not be appropriate for the Council to implement any further Quite Lane schemes until the existing one in Adgestone had been evaluated in the Spring of 2003.
(a) THAT no further Quite Lane schemes be introduced until the Adgestone scheme had been evaluated in the Spring of 2003.
(b) THAT the Select Committee consider the results of the monitoring exercise at its meeting on 22 April 2002 and representatives of Brading Town Council, Newchurch Parish Council and the CPRE be invited to attend.
52. URGENT BUSINESS - RESPONSE FROM ESSO UK LIMITED
The Chairman raised an urgent item of business relating to an issue raised at the last meeting concerning Esso products. This was originally raised at the Select Committee on 27 March 2002 through the receipt of a petition from Friends of the Earth. This asked the Council to boycott Esso products until the company had recognised the link between climate change and fossil fuel burning. The Chairman had now received a response from Esso UK Limited on the issues involved.
The Company outlined its position with regard to environmental management and climate change. It was investing in developing cleaner fuels and environmentally friendly alternatives.
THAT the response from Esso UK Limited be noted and no further action be taken.
53. BUDGET MONITORING AS AT END OF OCTOBER 2002
The Strategic Director of Finance and Information and County Treasurer reported on the revenue and capital budget as at the end of October 2002. There were no matters that required special consideration with regard to revenue since the previous meeting but problems could be encountered for the remainder of the financial year due to the closure of the electricity generating plant at Forest Road, Newport. Island Waste had expressed an interest in acquiring it but negotiations with the owners had stalled. The closure of this facility would have serious financial implications for the Council through the associated increase in landfill tax. Members were also concerned as to the effect that this would have on the Council’s recycling targets.
In reviewing the progress with schemes contained in the capital programme members expressed some concern as to the levels of virement involved. This could have a dramatic effect on achieving the level of schemes anticipated each year and reaching the targets contained within the Local Transport Plan. The Select Committee requested that a report should be submitted to the next meeting outlining responsibilities of officers and the Portfolio Holder in this matter.
Members debated the need to carry on with the good work being undertaken with improving the cycleway network and ensure suitable links were provided through Newport and to the ferry terminal at Cowes. The Head of Engineering Services indicated that options for a cross town route for Newport were being investigated.
The Select Committee was made aware of the potential commitments already known for capital expenditure in 2003-04.
(a) THAT the Head of Engineering Services submit a report to the next meeting detailing the practical and financial implications of the closure of the electricity generating plant at Forest Road.
(b) THAT the Strategic Director of Finance and Information and County Treasurer submit a report to the next meeting on delegated responsibility for approving virements within the capital programme.
(c) THAT the report be noted.
54. HIGHWAYS BEST VALUE REVIEW - RE-INSPECTION
The Select Committee was reminded that the Best value Inspectors and re-inspected the Highways and Transportation Service in August/September 2002. All members of the Select Committee had been sent a copy of the assessment which indicated that the Council was providing a fair one star service which had promising prospects for improvement. This was an improved situation from the initial inspection in September 2001 which assessed that the service was a poor, no star, service with poor prospects for improvement.
The Head of Engineering Services outlined the strengths of the service, issues that needed to be improved, the reasons why prospects for improvements were promising and the areas that still required addressing. It was essential that the efforts made to improve the service continued and that funding was made available to undertake highway schemes and appropriate staffing levels.
Members indicated that whilst the Call Centre had provided a better service to the public there were still problems in its operation. A report on this was expected at the next meeting.
THAT the report on the re-inspection of the Highways and Transportation Service be accepted.
55. MEMBERS’ QUESTION TIME
Mr J Effemey asked a question of the Chairman relating to the speed of traffic using Baring Road, Cowes. A copy of the question and reply is contained in the Members Question Time Register (MQ88/02).