Venue: Committee Room A & B - Town Hall. View directions
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Disclosures of Interest & Whipping Declarations
In accordance with the Council's Code of Conduct, Councillors of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to declare interests where appropriate.
Councillors must also declare if they are subject to their party group whip in relation to any items under consideration.
The following disclosures of interests were made:
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Climate Change Scrutiny Panel held on 28 January 2020.
The minutes of the meeting of the Climate Change Scrutiny Panel held on 28 January 2020 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
The Panel has invited representatives from Metrobus, Manor Royal Business District (MRBD), WSCC and CBC to help inform their investigation.
Patrick Warner, Head of Innovation Strategy (Metrobus), Steve Sawyer, Executive Director (MRBD) and Darryl Hemmings, Planning and Transport Policy Manager (WSCC) have been invited to assist the Panel by offering the Members their views on sustainable transport, eco-friendly vehicles and to understand the challenges the services face – now and in the future, together with the provision of support currently being provided.
Councillor Peter Smith (Crawley Borough Council) has also been invited as the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development as having responsibility for Transport Planning in liaison with relevant partners (with acknowledgement that WSCC has overall responsibility for Transport itself).
Whilst the individuals named above identifies those witnesses anticipated to speak at the meeting, this may change subject to availability and, at the discretion of the Chair. Further witnesses may be called in addition or instead of those listed above should they be unavailable.
The Chair provided some background information on the Panel then witnesses were asked to offer views on providing sustainable transport and eco-friendly vehicles and to understand the challenges the services face – now and in the future, together with the provision of initiatives and support currently being provided.
Patrick Warner, Head of Innovation Strategy (Metrobus), Darryl Hemmings, Planning and Transport Policy Manager (WSCC), Steve Sawyer, Executive Director (MRBD), together with Councillor Peter Smith (Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development - CBC), updated the Panel as follows:
· The company had an innovative approach to reducing emissions. The current ultra-low emission diesel buses were amongst the cleanest vehicles on the road, particularly compared to passenger cars.
· Trials of pure electric buses have previously taken place in Crawley and Brighton however there were limitations with battery range and operating hours and consequently impractical for intensive commercial operation.
· There was an ambitious target to full zero emissions bus operation fleet powered by clean hydrogen made from renewable wind energy and water by 2030. Crawley could see introduction by 2021, or much earlier for the high frequency services. Until this time, some areas were seeing a new generation of extended range of hybrid electric buses, with on-board Euro6 diesel generator and the ability to geo-fence an area of electric only mode.
· The future brings challenges; cost and behaviour change. It will be important to make bus travel an attractive choice; making them easily accessible, include free wi-fi, promote the advantages and improve the waiting environments.
· It was important to work with partners to maximise and enhance the potential, including working with the Road Haulage Association for example with refuse trucks.
Panel Members raised a number of queries. The issues raised and the key responses included:
· It was acknowledged that the primary reasons for lack of bus travel was convenience, cost and lack of understanding. There was a need for innovation and collaboration in reducing journey times, increasing journey speeds and creating a choice to drive modal shift.
· It was recognised that whilst the introduction of the zero emission fuel cell electric buses was costly, it had advantages over retrofitting the vehicles as the technology would be compliant. 2030 was an ambitious target for the whole fleet however the fact the whole fleet would be powered by hydrogen was seen as an asset.
· The partnership working was praised, together with the benefits for any sustainable transport links in new developments to be considered in the future.
· With regards to network development, it would be beneficial to take a holistic view for the wider network. There would be variation of existing routes but there was a need to serve the needs of the public, cut congestion whilst reaching key destinations.
· There was recognition that “Superhubs” were a good example of how to improve the waiting environment and change behaviour. Additional benefits included free trial travel in new neighbourhoods or employment and working in partnership when new routes were development and major road work disruption took ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
Consultation with the Public and Organisations (15 minutes)
Should anyone wish to register their interest to speak please use the contact email on the front of the agenda.
Councillor Jaggard thanked the public, interested parties and organisations for attending and commented that it was now their opportunity to inform the Panel on the areas identified in relation to transport and what they felt could be improved in this respect. The public were reminded of the Panel’s scope focusing upon the workings and activities of Crawley Borough Council in relation to carbon emissions.
Listed below were many of the key issues and themes that were raised during the consultation:
· The council was commended for the ‘New Directions for Crawley’ document.
· There would be a need for the council to consider how to deal with the use of petrol and diesel usage, both now and in the future.
· Consider the potential for an emissions charge within the town.
· There was support for promotion and education to highlight the advantages of use of sustainable transport, particularly bus and rail use.
· Whilst it was acknowledged that it was important to have the finances to deliver the changes, it would be beneficial if Metrobus could roll out the entire fleet to fuel cell electric buses powered by clean hydrogen by 2025 instead of 2030.
· There was support for greater pedestrianisation of the town centre.
· It was questioned if funding could be ring-fenced for climate change in the future.
· It was noted that Luxembourg had just allowed free cost transport across the country.
· An acknowledgement that the traffic flow throughout the town needed improving and this would assist in reducing congestion and carbon emissions.
· There was support for further solar panels to be introduction wherever possible.
· There was support for ride share/car clubs.
· Acknowledged that campaigners had won a Court of Appeal ruling over plans for a third runway at Heathrow Airport on environmental grounds.
· Ifield Colleges designed, built and raced a solar car from Darwin to Adelaide in 2019. Would the council consider investigating this further for possible partnership. (NB - in partnership with Ardingly College www.ardinglysolar.com )
The Chair thanked the public for attending and expressing their views and it was re-iterated that what had been discussed would certainly help shape the Scrutiny Panel’s recommendations.
General Update and Actions for Next Meeting
To receive any relevant updates/information from Officers and Panel Members, including additional information required to advance the forthcoming meetings. To include:
a) Update on correspondence with witnesses requesting attendance at the forthcoming meeting in March.
b) Confirm witness sessions established for remaining meetings.
c) Confirm that Panel Members identify a clear set of questions to ask representatives attending witness sessions.
The Chair updated Panel Members on work that had been recently undertaken:
· Additional information had been provided in relation to the West Sussex Pension Fund. Whilst the borough council already had its Ethical Investment Policy there was an opportunity at the next meeting (which was concentrating on commercial and business activities) to look at this in more detail and which social and environmental issues are considered by the Fund.
· Witnesses for next session:
o Head of Major Projects and Commercial Services
o Head of Partnership Services
o Executive Director MRBD
The date of the next meeting would be Wednesday 25 March 2020 at the Town Hall on the Council’s commercial and business activity. The agenda would be published on the council’s website and details for registering to speak would again be included.
To agree any recommendations from this meeting to be included into draft report.
Following the witness sessions and the action points, it was agreed that the following be determined for possible inclusion in the draft report.
1. That consideration be given to investigating the pedestrianisation of the town centre (The Boulevard).
2. That consideration be given to either extending the current AQMA towards Three Bridges or implementing a new AQMA.
3. That as part of the ongoing New Directions for Crawley, consideration be given to promotion of the benefits and advantages of sustainable transport use (bus and rail) and engage working with partners (eg Metrobus and through CGP).
4. That as part of any fleet replacement, an innovative approach is considered including the option to work with other partners in other sectors (eg Metrobus and Road Haulage Association to discuss hydrogen fleet).