Highways and Neighbourhoods Cabinet Member – Minutes – 29 March 2012

The Transport capital expenditure was secured through the Local TransportPlan (LTP) process and an LTP submission to the Department for Transport (DfT) was required.  The plan set out transport priorities for the council, which would see the current year as the start of the third generation of these plans and covered a 15-year projection submission.

It was explained that as part of the LTP submission, the plan set out the programme of themes and the expected outcomes that the council aimed to achieve within a three-year Delivery Plan.

The report detailed that there were two funding streams within the LTP award which covered Integrated Transport and Highway Maintenance. The current years allocations were:

  • Integrated Transport £ 993,000
  • Highway Maintenance £ 4,423,000

The key priorities were identified as the condition of the highway and footway networks.

Resolved – That the progress of the delivery of the programme be noted.

70  (69)  NORTH LINCOLNSHIRE COUNCIL ENERGY REPORT 2010-2011 – The Director of Infrastructure Services submitted a report seeking approval of the Annual Energy Report for the financial year 2010/11 and to report the results of the 2010/11 Display Energy Certificate (DEC) renewals for the council’s buildings.   

‘Greening the Workplace’ was the subject of review via the council’s scrutiny processes, of which one of the outcomes was the requirement to prepare an annual energy report.

The council had put in place a Carbon Management Plan (CMP) which included a target to reduce the carbon emissions by 33% by 2014

Hew energy software had enabled the Environment Team to produce accurate energy data for both this report and the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC) reports.

The report outlined that the council had reduced its energy consumption by over 9% in 2010/11. Heating fuel used in council buildings fell by nearly 12% despite experiencing one of the coldest winters on record and electricity use had fallen by over 12% in 2010/11.

Resolved – (a) That the 2010/11 annual energy report be approved, and (b) that in future reports, water data be included in a combined Annual Energy and Water Report.

71  (70)   BUILDING CONTROL PERFORMANCE REVIEW 2011 – The Director of Infrastructure Services submitted a report to inform on the performance of the Building Control service in 2011.

It was explained that Building Control was required to produce an annual performance review for the ISO external auditor.  The review highlighted the difficulty in achieving income targets despite the level of fee income lost to the private sector reducing significantly.  In addition, it also highlighted excellent performance results including 100% overall customer satisfaction achieved throughout the year.  The continuation to manage West Lindsey Building Control service and the move to form a Joint Partnership in April 2012 was also included.

Resolved – That the Building Control Performance Review 2011 be noted.

72  (71)  BIODIVERSITY – The Director of Infrastructure Services submitted a report seeking approval to:

  • adopt the revised Lincolnshire Biodiversity Action Plan (“BAP”  or “Plan”) and commit the Council to actions in the Plan,
  • commit the Council to a target of 2 hectares (ha) of Local Nature Reserve for every 1,000 people and provide an update on Local Wildlife Sites (LWS), Local Geological Sites (LGS) and the Single Data Set
  • commit the Council to manage Local Sites that it owned or controlled to favour wildlife and geology
  • agree the Council’s payment to the Lincolnshire Biodiversity Partnership (“LBP” or “Partnership”)

In 2008, the Council adopted the second edition of the BAP (minute 18(17) refers) and over the years, the Partnership had achieved many of the targets in the Plan which had resulted in the third edition of the Plan being ready for action.

The Council had declared ten Local Nature Reserves (LNRs), and subsequently the Local Strategic Partnership (LSP) set a target of 2 hectares (ha) of LNR for every 1,000 people. As the LSP no longer existed, it was suggested that the Council set its own targets for LNRs.

By April 2011 over 300 sites had been assessed and 187 of these had been selected as Local Sites.  For the Single Data Set, the Council had to report the percentage of Local Sites that were positively managed for wildlife or geology and between March 2009 to March 2011, this figure increased from 59 per cent to 70 per cent.

Resolved – (a)  That the revised Lincolnshire Biodiversity Action Plan be adopted and the Council commits to actions within the Plan; (b) that the Council commits to a target of 2 hectares (ha) of Local Nature Reserve for every 1,000 people; (c) that the Council commits to manage Local Sites for wildlife and geology, and (d) that the  payment to the Lincolnshire Biodiversity Partnership be approved.

73  (72)  REVIEW OF FEES AND CHARGES 2012/2013 – The Director of Neighbourhood and Environmental Services submitted a report seeking approval of the level of fees and charges for the financial year 2012/13 for services provided by Neighbourhood and Environmental Services.

Neighbourhood and Environmental Services provided a wide range of services, some of which were rechargeable to members of the public and the local business community.  The Director of Neighbourhood and Environment Services was authorised to determine the fixing of charges in respect of certain commercial waste collection charges by the Cabinet Member in February 2004. The Cabinet Member also granted authority to amend pest control charges as necessary to meet local market changes in August 2004.  All charges were inclusive of VAT where this applies.

Resolved – That the schedule of fees and charges appended to the report for the financial year 2012/13 be approved.

74  (73)  SCHMALLENBERG DISEASE – The Director of Neighbourhood and Environmental Services submitted a report to inform the Cabinet Member of the emerging new livestock disease known asSchmallenberg Virus.

The new virus was identified in December 2011 and was named ‘Schmallenberg virus’ after the German town where it was first identified.  It was explained that the disease that had since been detected in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.

The virus had been associated with brief mild/moderate illness in adult cattle and late abortion or birth defects in newborn cattle, sheep and goats. As this was a newly identified virus there were still aspects of the disease that remained unknown until more research had been undertaken.

It was considered unlikely for there to be a risk to human health from Schmallenberg virus, and an extremely low risk of any public health implications, however this was not yet certain, so sensible hygiene precautions were being advised for farmers and veterinary practitioners.

The report outlined that there had not been any cases of the disease reported in North Lincolnshire and that from the pattern of cases observed to date, it appeared that North Lincolnshire was at lower risk than some other parts of the country.

Resolved – (a) That the contents of the report be noted, and (b) that the advisory measures taken be fully supported.

75  (74)  COUNCILWIDE REVIEW OF TRANSPORT – The Director of Infrastructure Services submitted a report to provide details on the Transport Review 2012 as commissioned by the Conservative Group in July 2011, and also sought approval of the action plan as documented within the Transport Review 2012 report.

Transport plays an important part in everyday life. It can restrict or enhance the quality of life experiences of individuals and communities.  The way in which transport is managed is also important to people’s quality of life expectations

The ruling group commissioned a transport review in July 2011.  The Assistant Director for Resources and Business Services was asked to lead the review and establish a working group and project board to steer the review through five pre-agreed stages.  Following consultation with the public, officers from departments across the council had been involved in the production of the final report and action plan to ensure a one council approach.

The Transport Review Action Plan was appended to the report.

Resolved – (a)  That the Transport Review 2012 report be received, and (b) that the action plan at Appendix 1 to the report be approved.

76  (75)  HIGHWAYS LOCAL TRANSPORT PLAN (LTP) PROGRAMME OF WORKS 2012-2015 –  The Director of Infrastructure Services submitted a report seeking approval for the programme of works for 2012-2015, and to inform the Cabinet Member of proposed allocations of transport funding between various themes in order to meet the objectives of the Local Transport Plan.

The council was required to submit an LTP submission to the Department for Transport which would set out transport priorities for the council. 2012 had seen the continuation of the third generation of these plans which would cover a 15-year period.

As part of the LTP submission, council’s were required to produce a three-year delivery plan setting out the programme of themes and expected outcomes for the plan with the delivery period of works report covering the same timeframe.

Consideration was required on the apportionment of slippage funding, with the preferred option being to allow the slippage allocation between maintenance and integrated transport themes based on the slippage from the previous years LTP Capital Programme in the specific themes.

Based on this proposal it was considered that the funds would provide the resources needed to contribute to repairing the backlog of works in all themes of the LTP.  By utilising the prioritisation systems, which had been developed, it was viewed that the programme of works, as defined in the appendices, would deliver both organisational goals and value for money.

Resolved – (a)  That the programme of works 2012-2015 be approved;  (b) that the Cabinet Member be kept informed of progress on the delivery of the programme and on the achievement of targets and indicators linked to the LTP process, and (c) that the LTP under spend from 2011/12 be carried forward and included within the next financial years allocation.

The corresponding report of the following item (Minute 77 refers) contains exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

77  (76)  PUBLIC RIGHTS OF WAY CLEARANCE CONTRACT – The Director of Infrastructure Services submitted a report seeking approval to extend the public rights of way clearance contract by twelve months.

The Director of Infrastructure Services explained that the public rights of way (PROW) clearance contract was authorised on 26 March 2009 and would conclude on 19 April 2012.  The contract covered the Wayclearance, the cutting back of long grass and weeds that would otherwise block certain public paths in spring and summer.

When authority for the contract was given, this included the option to extend it for a further 12 months.  It was confirmed that the contractor was willing to continue and that officers considered that the contractor had performed well over the life of the contract with fewer complaints having been received about undergrowth since the contract began.

Resolved – That the request to extend the current public rights of way clearance contract by twelve months be approved.