Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda and draft minutes

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Online only

Contact: Emma James/ Jo Weston  Overview and Scrutiny Officers

Media

Items
No. Item

386.

Apologies and Welcome

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting and explained the arrangements for meetings taking place online. Apologies had been received from Panel member Bob Brookes and from the Cabinet Member for Highways, Alan Amos

387.

Declarations of Interest and of any Party Whip

Minutes:

None.

388.

Public Participation

Members of the public wishing to take part should notify the Assistant Director for Legal and Governance in writing or by email indicating the nature and content of their proposed participation no later than 9.00am on the working day before the meeting (in this case 10 September 2020).  Enquiries can be made through the telephone number/email address below.

 

Minutes:

None.

389.

Flood Risk Management Annual Report / Update on Flooding 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 136 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In attendance for this item were:

 

Worcestershire County Council:

Paul Smith, Assistant Director for Highways and Transport Operations

Emily Barker, Planning Services Manager

Michael Green, Senior Flood Risk Consultant

Cllr Tony Miller, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Environment

 

Severn Trent Water: Tim Smith and Jacqueline Whitehead, Flooding Analysts

 

The Environment Agency: Dave Edwards, Senior Adviser

 

The Panel Chairman highlighted the timeliness of the update on flood risk management, a subject which had dominated the news in Worcestershire before the COVID-19 pandemic. The Panel had been provided with a very comprehensive report and he asked those present to summarise the presentation slides included in the Agenda after which questions would be invited on the Annual Flood Risk Management Annual Report 2019-20.

 

The Assistant Director for Highways and Transport Operations (Assistant Director) who was newly responsible for flood risk at the Council, explained that the Council’s lead officer for flood risk was unable to attend and he thanked Michael Green, Senior Flood Risk Consultant, for standing in.

 

The Flood Risk Consultant summarised the presentation slides.

 

Since the Panel’s previous update 20 months ago, flooding in Worcestershire had been dominated by two serious flood periods between October 2019 to March 2020. In October/November over 70 residential properties had been flooded. In February/March 2020, around 700 residential properties and over 200 businesses had been impacted. These large events had been managed between the Council and its partners, as well as looking at future flood alleviation work and routine work, which was a broad remit to maintain alongside major events. A debriefing of the February to March 2020 flooding would take place shortly, having been delayed by COVID-19.

 

Understanding and prioritising flood risk was very important in determining where to deploy resources and the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy Action Plan had been progressed over the last 20 months. Flood events helped to plan work and identify the key risks, however they also delayed progress and work on the Action Plan would continue later in the year. Nonetheless over 100 highway drainage schemes had been progressed and there had been around 1500 planning consultations. Good progress had been made with the DEFRA funded flood management programme.

 

In terms of reducing the likelihood and impact of flooding, a lot of work had gone into delivering flood alleviation schemes and progressing business cases for potential schemes – a process which was a very time consuming because of the evidence required to demonstrate the benefits against the costs. Partnership working was key and the point was made that the multi-agency approach of recent years had helped produce better outcomes over time by enabling a more holistic oversight and maximising use of funding.

 

Communications and engagement work had included encouraging community resilience and development of flood groups, and the ‘virtual recovery trailer’ was highlighted as being particularly innovative method of talking to people. The presentation also listed future challenges as well as plans, policies and strategies; such longer-term work may not be immediately beneficial but was hugely  ...  view the full minutes text for item 389.

390.

Performance and In-Year Budget Monitoring pdf icon PDF 135 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In attendance for this item were:

 

Paul Smith, Assistant Director for Highways and Transport Operations

Steph Simcox, Head of Finance

Dave Corbett, Management Information Analyst

 

Performance Monitoring – Quarter 1 (April to June 2020)

 

The Chairman referred to a number of outstanding queries from the report for the previous meeting concerning Quarter 4 (the recording of the percentage of potholes fixed on time, and secondly, confirmation of steps being taken to improve the performance of days taken to approve Development Control technical submissions) and was advised that the information had been compiled and would be finalised following this meeting.

 

·         It was clarified that some PIs such as ‘condition of highways’ were updated annually, hence the reason for some unevenness between the graphs; this PI was due to be updated between now and the autumn

·         Another Panel member who was a frequent cyclist, highlighted the exceptional quality of Worcestershire’s roads and the positive feedback he had received about the speed of action to repair potholes.

·         An update was requested on what was being done to respond to issues affecting countryside access, in view of the increased number of calls and whether more use could be made of volunteers? The Panel was advised that a post was being recruited to. The increase in calls could be attributed to people getting out more during COVID-19 and the Assistant Director undertook to consider how to respond to this growing need, including the scope of the volunteer scheme which was acknowledged as very helpful and enjoyed by those who participated.

·         Referring to the enquiries from public (PEMs), a panel member pointed out that around 45% were related to roads/footpaths/cycle paths and suggested a more detailed breakdown would help to identify the issues involved?  The Management Information Analyst explained that this was not possible with the current PEMs categories, but he would check if it was possible to drill down.

·         The Directorate was congratulated on reducing the number of outstanding public enquiries (PEMs)

·         A number of services were praised for their continued work during the current pandemic, including maintenance of drains and ditches, prompt attention to fallen trees during recent storms, highway maintenance (Ringway) and the Highways Liaison Engineers.

·         A member asked what was being done to decrease household waste overall, for example encouraging more recycling, since although the decreasing level of waste to landfill was pleasing, waste sent to Worcestershire’s incinerator generated emissions. The Assistant Director was aware of initiatives to reduce food waste but undertook to provide a comprehensive answer for the Panel.

·         The new legislation to collect household food waste was discussed and the concerns about collection costs and escalating food waste from panic buying during the pandemic. A Panel member recalled that collection costs in Wychavon had exceeded £600,000 a year, with less than 25% of the public using the service. The Panel encouraged greater promotion of composting and educating the public to avoid food waste.

·         The Panel was advised that the considerable increase in highways and utilities permits granted for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 390.

391.

Work Programme 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 130 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman reminded Panel members that a briefing on the Ringway contract had been arranged for 28 September, which would then be followed up by a visit to the Highways Control Centre.