Agenda item - Chairs Communications
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- Meeting of Environment, Transport & Sustainability Committee, Tuesday, 24th November, 2020 4.00pm (Item 35.)
35.1 The Chair provided the following communications:
“Firstly, I hope everyone is safe and well during this second national lockdown we find ourselves in.
I would like to take this opportunity to say how shocked I was to hear about the strange events that occurred on Friday concerning the appearance of one of the City’s Historic Seafront Lanterns on a public auction website following its removal from Madeira Drive for safety checks. I understand that the Council’s Street Lighting Contractor, Colas were given explicit instructions to remove 20 of these lantern sets and place them into safe storage pending inspection and potential repair by English Heritage. Following the lantern being observed on social media and reported to the Council, I am very pleased that Council officers acted swiftly and took immediate action by tracking down and removing our property from a specific individual and commencing urgent investigations with the contractor. I understand the Contractor is treating this very seriously and we await the outcome and whether or not we feel any criminal action has occurred and we will involve the police if appropriate.
We have moved swiftly to seek assurance from Colas that the other lanterns are being stored safely for inspection by Historic England. They have given us this assurance, but we have asked them to evidence this urgently. Furthermore, I know that the Leader of the Council has also now written to COLAS, to raise the seriousness of the matter, and to ask for explicit assurance of the steps that will be taken by the contractor to ensure this will never happen again. To follow on from this, I have also asked for a full investigation and a report with findings and any necessary recommendations to come back to Committee.’’
“It has now been confirmed that our application for additional funding from the Department for Transport’s Emergency Active Travel Fund (Tranche 2) has been successful.
I’m delighted that the council has been awarded £2.376m, its full allocation and the most to any unitary authority in the country. This is in addition to the £663,000 we were awarded in June. My thanks go to the officers who worked so hard to make this a resounding success, and for the campaigners and residents who continually kept the pressure on us to go further in support of active travel.
At the last meeting of this committee, In September we agreed that, subject to a successful funding bid, a special meeting of the committee would be held to agree the measures being taken forward and that meaningful consultation would take place so that residents and stakeholders and community groups could offer input into the process, and this will be arranged as soon as possible. We now have a draft consultation plan that we will be bringing forward to this special committee meeting.
The government has also made clear that all local councils should consult, and as mentioned before, we will do so – paying particular attention to the concerns raised by our city’s disability groups and others. Once again, I can stress that the steps we will be taking to consult will be brought to all of you as part of a special meeting. However, I am sure we can all agree that this large financial award from the government sends a strong message about the proposals for active travel in our city
Prior to today members were circulated the letter attached to our funding award from the Secretary of State for transport, Grant Shapps MP, and I wanted to read the two highlights from the letter for those watching today.
“Very few changes to anything will command unanimous support, and we do not ask it for these schemes. But there is clear evidence that for all the controversy they can sometimes cause, ambitious cycling and walking schemes have significant, if quieter, majority support. In recent surveys by my Department, 65 per cent of people across England supported reallocating road space to walking and cycling in their local area and nearly eight out of ten people support measures to reduce road traffic in their neighbourhood.”
“Evaluation of early School Streets projects has shown traffic
outside schools has reduced on average by 68%, children cycling to school has increased by 51%, and harmful vehicle pollution outside schools is down by almost three-quarters.”
“We’ve been awarded this money to support safe, inclusive and sustainable travel for the city and we want everyone, of all ages and abilities, to access safe travel in Brighton & Hove. For those who do need to drive, clearer roads will be of benefit. By creating more transport choices for residents and visitors, we can also improve our health and wellbeing, reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and support local businesses by making it possible for people to travel around the city in different ways.
Tranche 1 had comments and important feedback from blue badge holders, and there is a report today that covers the changes made in response to some of these. I will set up a further meeting with groups such as BADGE to ensure that positive changes are ongoing and to pick up on feedback on today’s report.
“Last month, the city’s first climate assembly came to a close. I was lucky enough to observe some of the sessions and I was really impressed by the conversations that were had and the early suggested recommendations. I’m really looking forward to reading the report and receiving it at this committee in January.
“At the beginning of this year, as an opposition member on this committee I put forward a motion to look into how we can reduce the number of cars in the city centre by 2023, following many other local authorities announcing plans to cut emissions, increase pedestrian zones and clean air zones in similar time scales. We also put forward plans for an expanded ultra-low emission zone, similar to London’s. The initial report was due to come back to committee this month, but due to the delayed end date of the climate assembly it will now be coming in January.
The new service we’re supporting, called RevaluElectricals, has been a huge success since it was launched just a few weeks ago.
The scheme, the first of its kind in the country, is run by Tech-Take Back and allows residents to book online through a special app and have their old tech or electricals collected from their doorstep.
Goods that are working or can be refurbished or upgraded will be donated to charity. Anything that can’t be saved will be dismantled and recycled responsibly.
So far, 300 residents have registered on the app; 90 collections have been carried out and almost 1000 kgs of equipment has been collected.
“The tender for the first electric refuse truck goes live this week and will last about three weeks. The evaluation process will be carried out by four people who will then choose the successful bidder.
“We recently installed eight redeployable CCTV cameras and ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) systems across the city in some of our worst fly-tipping hotspots, with assistance from Sussex Police.
We’ve issued 55 Fixed Penalty Notice (FPNs) since the cameras were installed in mid-October, and our enforcement officers have already noticed a signification reduction in fly-tipping since installation.
Our latest additions, at Hollingbury Golf Course, are powered purely from solar and wind power and are situated to ensure we have the full benefit of the renewable energy available to us.
“These three developments are great news and will hopefully continue as we drive towards our goal of becoming a carbon neutral city by 2030”.