(Essex County Council) To provide a verbal update on the activities of Essex Highways. (Cllr Lee Scott).
Cllr Lee Scott ,Portfolio Holder for Highways and Transport at Essex County Council attended the meeting and gave a brief overview of his remit which covered potholes, buses, transport, costal erosion, cycling, walking and footpaths. He outlined his desire to meet with District and Parish Councils to gain an understanding of the issues across the County, suggested that the key issue for the County was flooding and advised the Committee that he could be emailed directly, or through the Chairman, to address any issues. He reminded Members that there was a limited budget, if something was dangerous it would be fixed, but this could not be guaranteed for other issues. He offered to answer questions from the Committee.
The Committee sought further information on:
· The delay on road repairs - Cllr Scott Advised that there was a dependency upon budget, there had been an impact from covid affecting work, but roadworks would be completed until up to date.
· The state that utility companies leave the roads/pathways - Cllr Scott advised that meetings would take place to ensure contractors and utility companies ensured the state of the highways would be properly reinstated.
· If inspections of pavements would recommence, as these were dangerous and discouraged walking- Cllr Scott asked that details of the specific areas be sent to him.
· Road work signs being left at the side of the road after works completed- Cllr Scott advised that he recognised this scenario and would take this back to the relevant officers.
· What was being done to encourage Public Transport - Cllr Scott advised that there was a new scheme ‘bus back better’, usage needed to be at pre pandemic levels, but through liaison with the bus companies there would be more environmentally friendly buses and services that go where and when people want them, with an aspiration to be able to track the service through an app.
· Charging points for electric vehicles – Cllr Scott acknowledged these were essential and suggested there could be potential for funding for points from companies that sell electric vehicles, it was important to have the correct charging points for the vehicle.
· The potential to include sustainability as part of the tender process – Cllr Scott advised that there would be economic, efficiency and environmental factors in all new contracts, this would not happen overnight but would include home to school transport.
· If planned works could be diverted to dangerous works -Cllr Scott advised that budgets could be vired, and there was an expectation that teams were flexible,
· If it possible to introduce regulations to prevent pavement parking - Cllr Scott suggested that there were some roads where this would not be viable but he was lobbying government for the introduction of legislation.
· If there was an intention for Safer Streets for Schools - Cllr Scott confirmed that this was the intention and suggested it was important to have lower speed limits and ensure that people felt it was safe for children to walk to school.
The Select Committee thanked Cllr Scott for his attendance at the meeting.
Cllr Scott would be invited to attend a future meeting of this Select Committee.