Agenda item

Verbal updates

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


(1)       Mr Hill (Cabinet Member for Community Services) gave a verbal update.  He said that there were effective and productive links between KCC and Kent Police and in particular through the Kent and Medway Police and Crime Panel and the Kent Community Safety Partnership (KCSP).  He said the activities of the KSCP were reviewed annually by the Scrutiny Committee meeting as the Crime and Disorder Committee and there were regular meetings with the Police and Crime Commissioner and the Chief Constable.


(2)       Mr Hill said Kent Police had recently been assessed as outstanding following a recent inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary.  He had written to congratulate the Chief Constable and the Police and Crime Commissioner.


(3)       Mr Hill concluded his update by saying the Chief Constable’s employment contract had been extended by three years to 2022.


(4)       Mr Balfour (Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport) gave a verbal update.  He said the Kent Environment Strategy had been launched at an event led by the Kent Environment Champions at Allington Castle on 1 December.  The event was hosted by Sir Robert Worcester and the key note speakers included John Selwyn Gummer - Baron Deben (Chairman of the Independent Committee on Climate Change) and Emma Howard Boyd (Chairman of the Environment Agency).  The Kent Environment Strategy Impact report 2011-16 setting out achievements to date was released at the event and copies were available for Members today.


(5)       Mr Balfour said that following the Member Task and Finish Group on Highway Soft Landscaping, officers had engaged with parish councils about the future of the service.  49 parishes had expressed interest and two confirmed their wish to take up the service.  He said a detailed report would be brought to the Cabinet Committee in due course.


(6)       Mr Balfour said that the £40m LED street lighting conversion project was on target for completion in residential areas by May 2017. 45,000 lights had been converted to LEDs to date.  Following completion of conversions in residential areas it was planned to convert lights in town centres and on high speed roads.


(7)       Mr Balfour said the winter programme was underway and precautionary salting of roads was carried out on 22 nights between October and December 2016 with a further six runs so far in January 2017.


(8)       Mr Balfour said the Maidstone Bridges new traffic layout had opened on 1 December in time for Christmas trading period and although some work on soft landscaping and phasing of the traffic lights needed to be completed, he considered the project to be a success.


(9)       Mr Balfour said that he and Mr Carter (Leader of the Council) had met with Chris Grayling (Secretary of State for Transport) who was supportive of Kent’s plans.  Since that meeting, it had been confirmed that Kent’s bid for funding to improve Brenley Corner had not been successful. However the Minister appeared to understand the problems in Kent and was supportive of schemes being developed which would enable Kent to bid for funding from the Investment Strategy II fund and the pinch point funding scheme when they were announced by government.


(10)     In response to comments and questions, Mr Balfour said the contractors were to be commended for their work on the LED conversion; and the letter confirming funding had not been received for the Brenley Corner improvements, had said the fund had been over-subscribed with 50 bids received and the 12 short-listed subject to further assessment before the funding was released.


(11)     Resolved that the verbal updates be noted.