(1) The report set out the responses to the public consultation on the draft Freight Action Plan for Kent and consequent amendments to the Plan. The consultation period was open from 28 May 2012 until 23 July 2012 but late submissions were accepted.
(2) The Freight Action Plan for Kent (FAP) identified the issues facing the county in relation to road freight, developed a series of objectives and outlined a number of key actions. It focussed on road haulage as it was the mode that predominantly affected the county’s residents, visitors and workers, as well as the road network itself. However, the FAP expressly supported alternative modes of transporting goods that were considered more sustainable, such as rail and water.
(3) The FAP was subject to internal consultation in February 2012 and subsequently sent to stakeholder groups for six weeks during April and May. The Plan was also sent to KCC Members and Joint Transportation Boards. It produced 39 written representations and significant amendments to the document were made as a result of the process. A final draft version of the FAP was released for public consultation online from 28 May to 23 July 2012. The same stakeholder groups were again notified of the public consultation. The public consultation resulted in a further 25 written representations and 25 responses online.
(4) Some of the actions in the Plan had implications for officer time and consequently a new Freight Officer role was created in July 2012 and would be appointed in September 2012. There were no further financial implications beyond agreed budgets.
(5) The action points in the Freight Action Plan for Kent contributed towards all three of the key priorities in Bold Steps for Kent:
· To help the Kent economy grow
· To put the citizen in control
· To tackle disadvantage
(6) The stakeholder consultation produced a number of very detailed and helpful responses. As a result the FAP was significantly amended to rectify any omissions identified and for general improvement. It ensured that the draft released to the public was as close to the final version as possible. The public consultation was promoted online on the Roads and Transport page and was also picked up by the industry website Commercial Motor. The responses to the public consultation could be split between the written representations made and the online responses, details of which were set out in the Appendix to the report.
(7) The Freight Action Plan for Kent 2011 – 2016 provided a framework for dealing with the problems generated by road freight in the county. Through the public consultation the Plan had been well received and no significant amendments had to be made.
(8) RESOLVED that the Cabinet Member be recommended to approve the formal adoption of the Freight Action Plan for Kent.