Agenda and minutes

Environment & Transport Cabinet Committee
Wednesday, 13th January, 2016 10.00 am

Venue: Darent Room, Sessions House, County Hall, Maidstone. View directions

Contact: Christine Singh  03000 416687

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

139.

Inter Authority Agreement in respect of the management of the Waste Project between Kent County Council and Gravesham Borough Council pdf icon PDF 77 KB

To receive a report from the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport and the Head of Commercial Management and Waste Services detailing a proposed agreement between Kent County Council (KCC) and Gravesham Borough Council (GBC) which commits both parties to the most economically advantageous position for the collection and disposal of waste services within the administrative area of Gravesham.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

  1. The Head of Commercial Management and Waste Services, Mr Beaver, introduced a report on the collection and disposal of waste services within the administration area of Gravesham.  He explained that Gravesham Borough Council (GBC) had direct service operation which allowed it to design a new scheme of waste collection to significantly increase its recycling and composting rate by including wheeled bin collection of dry recyclables and separate weekly food waste collections.  This scheme put joint risk on both Kent County Council (KCC) and GBC which was a favourable arrangement.  The financial agreement took account of the price rises and the changes in government legislation.  This arrangement protected KCC if GBC did not reach their targets. KCC could recoup the costs from GBC.

 

  1. Mr Beaver and Mr Balfour responded to questions by Members as follows:

a)    A comment was made that GBC welcomed the agreement and considered that it demonstrated that GBC had made significant investment.  When local authorities worked together to have a direct service they could influence their own future.  This could be the future for other district and borough councils.

b)    A comment was made that the wording in paragraph 5.1, “This IAA rewards GBC..”, could be considered patronising as this was a partnership.  Alternative wording was suggested as follows “The IAA is in recognition of GBC..”.  Mr Balfour agreed to the suggested revised wording and stated that there was no intention to patronise GBC or any Borough or District Councils as the local authorities needed to work closely together.

 

  1. RESOLVED that:-

 

(a)   the  responses to questions by Members be noted; and

 

(b)  the Cabinet Committee endorse the proposed decision to be taken by  the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport  for KCC to enter into an Inter Authority Agreement with GBC to increase levels of recycling and reduce disposal costs for KCC as detailed in Appendix A of the report.

 

140.

Apologies and Substitutes

To receive apologies for absence and notification of any substitutes present

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Mr Bowles.

141.

Declarations of Interest by Members in items on the Agenda

To receive any declarations of interest made by Members in relation to any matter on the agenda.  Members are reminded to specify the agenda item number to which it refers and the nature of the interest being declared.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr MacDowall advised that he knew Mr Nigel Collor, Cabinet Member for Access at Dover District Council, who was present to speak on Item C3 “Proposed Response to the Highways England Consultation on a proposal to create a Permanent Lorry Area adjacent to the M20 at Stanford”.

142.

Verbal updates

To receive verbal updates from the relevant Cabinet Members and the Corporate Director for Growth, Environment & Transport

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1.            The Cabinet Member Environment and Transport, Mr Balfour, gave his verbal update.  He explained that due to the rainfall throughout December and early January, the ground across Kent was saturated. The rainfall during the week of 4 January added to this causing widespread surface water flooding across the county.

 

2.            KCC received 830 drainage enquiries (put into context, that was more than the busiest week of the 2013/14 winter) and provided 146 two hour drainage callouts. In addition, Highway Operations raised a further 64 emergency & urgent jobs related to the weather.

3.            Across the County, most Districtshad roads closed last week due to flooding, some were still closed today. East Kent was worst hit; Dover had 18 roads either closed or virtually impassable and Shepway had large areas affected. The teams were excellent through the week, Dover Highway Operations were commended for the work they carried out over this period.

 

4.            Once the water had subsided there was much damage due to debris from the flooding. A selection of photos from Dover District highlights the issues.

 

5.            The gritters had been sent out 8 times over the months of November and January.

 

 

 

6.            Mr Balfour advised that the Environment Agency was working with Kent County Council, Tonbridge & Malling Borough Council and Maidstone Borough Council to develop options to reduce the risk of flooding to communities from the River Medway, River Beult and River Tiese. The Environment Agency had now completed its update of their flood model and was using it to test options to reduce risk. The outcomes were expected this month which was slightly behind schedule although the EA has advised that the delay would not affect the design and construction completion dates of 2019 and 2022.  (Since the meeting, the Environment Agency has advised that there will be a further delay in reporting on its findings)

 

7.         Mr Balfour advised that the Minerals and Waste Local Plan was submitted for independent examination by a government appointed Planning Inspector in November 2014.  Examination Hearings were held in April and May 2015 and as a result a number of Main and Additional (minor) Modifications where proposed to the Plan to address legal soundness matters and ensure that the Plan complies with planning law and policy guidance. Representations on the soundness and legality of the first set of modifications were invited from 17 August 2015 to 12 October 2015; and in light of the responses received the Inspector subsequently wrote to the Council suggesting that several further Main Modifications were necessary to ensure the soundness of the Plan. These were currently the subject of an eight week public consultation which expired on 4 March 2016.    Any views received would be considered by the Inspector in finalising his report.  Assuming that he was satisfied with the Plan, his report would pave the way for the County Council to adopt the Plan.  Once adopted it becomes the Development Plan against which mineral and waste management planning applications were determined and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 142.

143.

Budget 2016/17 and Medium Term Financial Plan 2016/19 pdf icon PDF 785 KB

To receive a report by the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement, the Cabinet Member for Economic Development, the Cabinet Member for Community Services, the Corporate Director for Finance and Procurement and the Corporate Director for Growth, Environment and Transport that sets out the proposed draft Budget 2016/17 and Medium Term Financial Plan (MTFP) 2016/19 as it affects the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee.  The report includes extracts from the proposed final draft budget book and MTFP relating to the remit of this Cabinet Committee (although these are exempt until the Budget and MTFP is published on 11th January)

   

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1.            The Head of Financial Strategy, Mr Shipton, gave an overview of the Council’s draft revenue and capital budgets and Medium Term Financial Plan.  He stressed that this was going to be the most difficult budget Kent County Council (KCC) had faced.  He highlighted some of the listed factors prior to the introduction report.

 

2.            He explained that one of the biggest issues was that KCC did not receive the spending plans from central government until the spending review was announced on the 25th November.  This meant KCC was not aware of the total financial envelope it was working within. KCC did not get its own individual settlement until 17 December 2015.  The settlement received on 17 December included a significant redistribution of Revenue Support Grant that KCC had not been able to anticipate.  Of that redistribution the net impact was a £15m reduction on Kent’s budget that it could not have anticipated before that announcement. This meant the papers were published for this Cabinet Committee with an assumption that there was still £8m of that £15m to find which was included in the appendices of the report for this Cabinet Committee.  Since the report was published the Draft Budget was published on 11 January, and in that draft another £4m of the £8m had been identified, so there was now £4m left unidentified.  None of the extra £4m identified in the published draft budget affected services within the remit of this Cabinet Committee’s portfolio; it was nearly all being taken from Financing Items.  Mr Shipton stated that there was still a little bit of gap to close which he understood made scrutinising the Budget difficult.  He advised that there was not a complete Budget for Members to scrutinise as this was a very late change and was unexpected.

 

3.            Mr Shipton advised that the provisional settlement also included the spending power calculation.  This measured Kent’s change in funding both through Council Tax and through Government Grants.  This took no account of the additional spending requirements Kent County Council was facing either through the effects of inflation or the effects of the rising population or the impact of increasing competitive need.  He suggested that the Cabinet Committee looked at the spending power figure which was reproduced in the report but reminded Members that this was only the funding half and not the spending half.  He concluded that there were real term reductions in KCC’s funding and KCC was not able to raise enough through Council Tax to compensate for both the spending demands and the reductions in central government funding, and therefore there was a need to make substantial savings.

 

4.            Mr Tilson highlighted the detail in the appendices to the report explaining that:

 

·         Appendix 1 -

Budget Summary

·         Appendix 2 -

GET Directorate’s MTFP spending prices and savings proposals

·         Appendix 3 -

An A to Z of Service Analysis

·         Appendix 4 -

The Capital Investment Plans 2016/17 to 2018/19

5.            Mr Balfour, Mr Shipton and Mr Tilson noted comments  ...  view the full minutes text for item 143.

144.

Cabinet Members' Priorities for Business Plans 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 102 KB

To receive a report presenting the Cabinet Members’ priorities that they wish to see reflected in the 2016/17 directorate business plans so that the Cabinet Committee can comment on them before the business plans are drafted.  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1.         The Strategic Business Adviser, Ms Phillips, introduced a report that sought comments from the Cabinet Committee on the Cabinet Members’ priorities they wished to be reflected in the 2016/17 directorate business plans as set out in pages 76 and 77 of the report.  Ms Phillips explained that many of the priorities would be jointly delivered by several services across the directorate and there were cross-cutting priorities which would be reflected in all the county council directorates’ business plans eg developing and implementing the district deals.  The priorities would be reflected in the business plan and would help shape and inform the directorates’ and divisions’ priorities for 2016/17. Work was being undertaken with each of the divisions to identify the priorities and identify the commissioning activity for the next three years.

 

2.            A draft of the business plan would be submitted to this Cabinet Committee on 11 March meeting for comment.  All of the Directorates’ business plans would then be approved collectively by Cabinet Members by early May.

 

3.            Mr Hill highlighted his priorities on future integrated Resilience and Community Safety from his portfolio explaining that the Kent Police and Kent and Medway Fire and Rescue had joined to form an integrated team base at Fire Headquarters at Loose Road, Maidstone.  His aim was to have closer working with the health partners and collate information from public personnel eg parking wardens, community wardens etc that would to be analysed and collated to be used in reducing community safety issues.  He concluded that Trading Standards also had a role to play in community safety with its success in prosecuting rogue traders etc.

 

4.            Mr Balfour stressed the importance of each of the priorities within the remit of his portfolio listed on page 76.  He added that he wanted to add to the list “How we encourage drivers being more courteous and considerate on Kent roads”.

 

5.            Mr Balfour responded to questions by Members as follows:

 

a)    A suggestion was made that consultations and working closer with Parish and Town councils should be embedded within KCC’s work as they could take on more responsibilities but often needed advice on how to start.   Mr Balfour agreed with the suggestion and to the Parish councils being given the capability to take on more responsibilities.  Although they were not mentioned in the list they were embedded in partnership working.

b)    Ms Phillips advised that the Cabinet Members’ list of priorities would be embedded into the directorate business plan and would not be a separate list.  Some of the priorities would be grouped such as Heritage, the rural agenda and the Kent Environment Strategy with an overarching heading that encapsulated them all.  The two cross-cutting priorities listed on page 77 were listed because the District Deals came under the remit of Growth, Environment and Transport Directorate (GET) while every directorate has a lead on the PREVENT priority; the other cross-cutting priorities in Appendix 1 are ones we all contribute to, but will be led by other  ...  view the full minutes text for item 144.

145.

Proposed Response to the Highways England Consultation on a proposal to create a Permanent Lorry Area adjacent to the M20 at Stanford pdf icon PDF 158 KB

To receive a report that outlines a proposed response to the consultation by Highways England on a proposal to create a Permanent Lorry Area adjacent to the M20 at Stanford.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1.            The Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport, Mr Balfour, introduced a report on a proposed response to the consultation by Highways England on a proposal to create a Permanent Lorry Area adjacent to the M20 at Stanford, Ashford.  He highlighted the problems that the County had endured over the years when there were issues with lorries being unable to enter the Channel Tunnel and in particular this summer’s problems which drew the government’s attention as it became a national problem and cost the country millions of pounds.  The government asked that a solution be found by Highways England at a pace.  Mr Balfour steered the Cabinet Committee to only discuss the proposed response to the consultation and not what had gone before.  He said that he supported the retention of the Traffic Assessment Phase(TAP) scheme and that it should be carried out in a sophisticated way with variable speed limits and the queue into TAP should be reduced as much as possible.

 

2.            The Chairman had given permission in advance of the meeting to the Local Member for Elham Valley, Miss Susan Carey; and the Cabinet Member for Access, Councillor Nigel Collor, Dover District Council, to speak on this item.

 

3.            Miss Carey welcomed the opportunity to speak at the meeting. She advised that the residents of Elham Valley, who were amongst those who had suffered the worst as a result of Operation Stack and now felt punished by the Highways England’s proposal.  Both sites identified were not considered a good idea. Miss Carey welcomed the £250m found to fund a solution but was disappointed that Highways England was asked to look for a site for a lorry park and that it would have been more sensible for them to be asked to produce options for resolving Operation Stack. Miss Carey highlighted that Highways England’s consultation document was headed “Managing Freight Vehicles through Kent” and concluded that the document did not have much about managing freight but dwelled on a lorry park.  The lorry park would only hold so many lorries and would therefore not prevent lorries parking up around Kent. She suggested that the sites chosen by Highways England were not options on the list produced by KCC because KCC would not have received permission for them because they fell outside many policies of KCC.  Miss Carey welcomed the parts of the report before Members that considered a bigger solution of what could be done further upstream to stop lorries coming into Kent in the first place, the infrastructure that was need to support the traffic that we already have.  She considered that Stanford West was the right and least bad option, including the lower Thames crossing.  Miss Carey supported what the report said in terms of which option should be chosen if there was going to be one. She considered that Stanford West was the right choice for the reasons set out in the report.  Miss Carey considered that the way the Highways England consultation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 145.

146.

The Approach to Maintaining our Highway Assets pdf icon PDF 105 KB

To receive a report from the Cabinet Member of Environment and Transport and the Interim Director of Highways, Transportation and Waste providing and update on our approach to maintaining our highway assets and highlights the challenges faced by the County Council going forward.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1.            The Interim Deputy Director Highways Transportation and Waste, Mr Loosemore, introduced a report on the approach taken to maintain the highway assets and highlighted the challenges faced by the County Council going forward.  Mr Loosemore outlined the need for a Member Task and Finish Group to be set up to support the development of the approach to highway asset management in Kent.

 

2.            Mr Balfour and Mr Loosemore responded to questions by Members as follows:

 

3.            Mr Loosemore highlighted the changes to the block grant maintenance received from government.  This had now been split into three different portions. We no longer receive block funding as a right.  There were now two extra elements; (1) the Challenge fund bid and (2) the incentive fund bid. He then spoke on the importance of the Incentive Fund questionnaire, a self-assessment document that would need to be carried out and submitted to the DfE accompanied by supporting evidence. The score achieved would determine the level of funding received.  Members noted that the aim was to achieve Band 2 overall to then work to a Band 3 score.

 

4.            Mr Balfour agreed that there were more pressures with far less funding being made available.  He suggested that there was a need to think more cleverly in dealing with Kent’s highways assets.  Mr Balfour advised that he regularly met with Mr Wilkin, Mr Loosemore and Mr Pearman to discuss highways issues. Maintenance of the highways assets needed to be carried out at the right level.  Members noted that this would form part of the discussion on the next highways contract which was currently with Amey.

 

5.            RESOLVED that:-

 

(a)  the responses to questions by Members be noted;

 

(b)  the Cabinet Committee noted the challenges highlighted in the report and supported further embedding of asset management principles in KCC approach to highways maintenance; and

 

(c)  a Member Task and Finish Group be set up to support the development of the approach to highway asset management in Kent.

 

147.

Kent County Council Response to the Department for Transport Report on the First Interim Evaluation of High Speed 1 pdf icon PDF 144 KB

To receive a report that sets out Kent County Council’s response to the Department for Transport’s First Interim Evaluation of High Speed 1.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1.            The Corporate Director for Growth Environment and Transport, Mrs Cooper, introduced a report that sets out Kent County Council’s response to the Department for Transport’s First Interim Evaluation of High Speed 1 (HS1) that had been operating since 2009.  She advised that the report also included the direct impact on passenger numbers which had risen and the welcomed regeneration in areas such as Ashford and Canterbury along its route.

 

2.            Mrs Cooper advised that Mr Gasche continued to pursue Network Rail and Southeastern for the repairs to be undertaken at a pace on the Dover Priory to Folkestone line.

 

3.            Mrs Cooper responded to questions by Members which included the following:

 

a)    Mr Baldock commented that he considered the report one sided as it did not reflect on the impact HS1 had on residents in rural areas, such as Newington, Teynham and Sellindge.  He suggested that residents did not receive the train service in his electoral area, Swale West, they had enjoyed in the past because HS1 had superseded previous routes.  He considered that the HS1 route from Sittingbourne to London St Pancreas station that saved seven minutes journey time was to the wrong part of London ie, and cost more money.  It was considered that the majority of people that worked in London required routes to London Bridge and London Victoria stations.

b)    Mr Baldock stated that there had been a huge population growth in Kent over this period, mainly with people who moved to Kent and who travelled to work in London.  The large increase in the number of train passengers on HS1 could be attributed to that growth and not HS1.  People who lived and travelled to work within Kent were not serviced by HS1.

c)    A suggestion was made that residents who had suffered the impact of HS1 through longer journey’s to work and increased traffic congestion should be consulted and their comments included in the report.  Mr Balfour advised that the report was on HS1 and not the classic service.  KCC had to lobby government regarding the new Southeastern franchise this year.  Reports on the classic service would be submitted to future meetings of the Cabinet Committee.

d)    Mr MacDowall concurred with Mr Baldock’s comments.  He said that HS1 was more attractive if you lived or had a business along the HS1 line.  He considered that the benefits that came from the HS1 service came at the expense of the classic service.  A large number of Kent’s population lived on the coastal strip between Dartford and Dover and they were not receiving a better service.   Mr MacDowall considered that HS1 was high speed in name but not high speed throughout and if high speed was to improve the track from Ebbsfleet to St Pancreas, London would need to be replaced long term to bring it up to the same standard, this would be costly.  It would be difficult to limit annual increases to the cost of inflation.  If demand grew it was likely that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 147.

148.

Work Programme 2016 pdf icon PDF 83 KB

To receive a report by the Head of Democratic Services on the Cabinet Committee’s proposed Work Programme 2016.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1.            The Cabinet Committee considered the proposed work programme and requested that the “draft business plan” be added to the March agenda.

 

2.            RESOLVED that subject to the draft business plan being added to the March 2016 agenda the work programme 2016 be agreed.