Highways, Planning & Energy Cabinet Member – Minutes – 22 September 2010

98 (5) SAFER ROADS HUMBER (SRH) – Implications of cuts in Road Safety Funding and Future Strategy – The Service Director Highways and Planning submitted a report advising the Cabinet Member of implications for Safer Roads Humber of in-year cuts in road safety funding and sought approval, in principle, for North Lincolnshire Council’s continued commitment to Safer Roads Humber, subject to funding availability.

Following the government’s recent announcement of in-year cuts in capital and revenue road safety grants, a report was presented to Cabinet on 21 July, advising members of these, and other, grant cuts. The impact on road safety was two-fold. There was a 27 per cent revenue cut in the Road Safety Grant (RSG), amounting to £95k, and a 100 per cent cut in the capital, amounting to £80k.

Since the RSG funding mechanism was introduced, in 2007/08, it had been used to fund a wide range of road safety activity, principally through the sub-regional Safer Roads Humber (SRH) Partnership. The core operations of SRH were safety cameras, diversion schemes (speed seminars), road safety marketing and communications, data collection and analysis, research and development and road safety project work

There had been extensive consultation between SRH partner organisations about the impact of the in-year cuts and possible ways forward. However, at this stage, there was no consensus as to the future management arrangements under which SRH may operate. More generally, road safety was known to be a high priority for the North Lincolnshire community. Indeed, the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) had National Performance Indicator NI 47 – reduction in number of people killed or seriously injured in road incidents – as one of its thirty-five highest priority Local Area Agreement (LAA) indicators.

Resolved – (a) That subject to future funding availability, to adopt Option 1, to continue with the current arrangements, as a formal partner in SRH, and (b) That a further report be submitted to the Cabinet Member after the autumn comprehensive spending review and when more information became available from SRH regarding options costings.

99 (6) REVIEW OF THE WINTER SERVICE IN NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE – The Service Director Highways and Planning submitted a report to review the precautionary salting routes within North Lincolnshire and to advise on the options for consideration contained in the information report ‘Review Of The Winter Maintenance Season 2009/2010’ that was discussed at a previous Cabinet Member meeting in July 2010.

During Summer 2010 a review of the precautionary salting routes within North Lincolnshire had been undertaken with a number of additional requests for inclusion in the routes having been received. These had been assessed against previously approved criteria and had resulted in proposed changes to the precautionary salting routes.

The severe national salt shortages experienced during the Winter Season 2009/2010, were detailed in the Information Report of July 2010. One major outcome of this shortage was the reduction in routes that were treated in times of absolute necessity. Details of the reduced treatment routes were shown in Appendix 5 of the report.

Resolved – (a) That the roads outlined within appendix 3 to the report be added to the precautionary salting routes, (b) that the precautionary salting routes for Winter Season 2010/2011 outlined within appendix 4 of the report be approved, (c) that the reduced network of precautionary salting routes during periods of salt shortages outlined within appendix 5 to the report be approved, (d) that the list of footways to be treated during extreme weather conditions outlined within appendix 6 to the report be approved, (e) that the update on the issues for consideration outlined in the Information Report of July 2010 be noted, and (f) that the advertisement of the precautionary salting routes in the “Direct magazine “ as a formal pullout route map as in previous years be approved, this will include the minimum standard network treatment during times of salt shortages.

100 (7) CURRENT YEAR BUDGET REDUCTION – The Service Director Highways and Planning submitted a report which identified appropriate actions/virements to update the Highways and Planning Service’s detailed budgets to reflect the changes agreed by Cabinet on 21 July 2010.

The Service Director Finance had presented a report to Cabinet in July 2010 outlining in broad terms the effects of the decision taken by central government to make cuts in the current financial year to local government funding. The report outlined the impacts of the proposed reductions in relation to each service. The report also identified alternative approaches to making the necessary in year reductions with Cabinet agreeing at the meeting that the proposals as presented in the report’s appendices be approved.

The net effect for Highways and Planning from the decision by Cabinet was that the current year budget for capital had been reduced by £1.28m and the current year budget for revenue reduced by £171k.

Grant cuts had a direct impact on council activity by reducing investment in capital projects and removing revenue funded activities. It was agreed that any decisions taken must not compromise the council’s statutory duties, but the council did have discretion on the level of service it provided. Consultation had taken place with relevant service officers as to how best to manage the reductions. The Safer Roads Humber Partnership had also been made aware of the budget reduction proposals.

Resolved – (a) That the proposals set out by the Highways and Planning service as to how to manage the reduced budgets as detailed within the report be approved, and (b) that any additional budget virements necessary to correct the base budget to the revised figures agreed by Cabinet on 21 July be recommended for approval.

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