Contact: Democratic Services team
The Chair expressed condolences to Councillor Wolfson following the recent death of his mother. Best wishes were also sent to Councillors Flatley and O’Neill who were convalescing from illness and to Councillor Howard who was caring for his ill wife.
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
To consider the minutes of the last meeting held 7th December 2017.
Resolved that the minutes of the last meeting held on 7 December 2017, as amended to include within Minute 56 the additional comment of Councillor Howard regarding Liverpool to London train services stopping at Runcorn, be approved as an accurate record.
The Chair advised Members that if they would like a copy of the Equality Impact Assessment, as referred to in minute 60, they should make an appropriate request to the Democratic Services team.
Presentation by David Brown of Arriva Rail North
To note a presentation from David Brown from Arriva Rail North.
A presentation was given by David Brown the Managing Director of Arriva Rail North and concerning an update on the modernisation of services. He introduced Sharon Keith, the Regional Director for Arriva for the area covering the Liverpool City Region and she assisted with the presentation.
The presentation commenced with details of Northern and the key intentions of the modernisation programme which included faster and more comfortable journeys, better stations, improved customer service, high safety and security standards and the delivery of new services and new trains. He explained what had been delivered so far and provided details of the new trains, the first of which he said would be in operation by December 2018.
The presentation then set out how the modernisation of stations was proceeding and thoughts on customer experience and accessibility issues before providing an update on the progress of the ongoing industrial dispute with the RMT trade union and proposals for the Southport to Manchester service.
In the final part of the presentation, David Brown referred to the timetable bid for the Liverpool City Region in 2018 which sought to improve connectivity and enhance the quality of services and he detailed how planning was taking place, in conjunction with City Region partners, for the various major events that were to happen in the Liverpool City Region in 2018.
Councillor Abbey referred to the model of rail and bus integration in the north east and asked that as Arriva were now responsible for a very high proportion of bus and rail services on the public transport network, what proposals there might be for similar integration in this City Region. David Brown replied that he was aware of the work in the north east and he would be pleased for his team to be involved in discussions about how this could be replicated and for Arriva to be the mobility provider of choice.
Councillor McGlashan welcomed David Brown on his return to Merseytravel and placed in record thanks to Craig Harrop for his excellent work over many years at Northern. He then asked about Boxing Day services and he referred to the services provided by Merseyrail on this Transport Committee day and asked whether or not there was the possibility of Northern providing such services in the future on the City Line. David Brown answered that they would wish to provide such services in future if it was possible and that although it was a complex issue and he could not provide a guarantee, it would help if evidence could be provided of the demand that may exist for such services on this line. Sharon Keith added that Local Authorities would be consulted on their priorities.
A question was asked by Councillor Williams regarding access to Northern trains and how facilities could be improved for disabled people and he cited the sliding step that would be a feature of the new Merseyrail Rolling Stock.
Sharon Keith responded that they faced a very different challenge in this regard because ... view the full minutes text for item 68.
To consider the report of Merseytravel updating the Transport Committee on key activities being progressed by Merseytravel’s Bus Department throughout the third quarter of 2017/2018.
The Committee considered a report of Merseytravel concerning key activities being progressed by the Bus Department of Merseytravel throughout the third quarter of 2017/2018.
Laura Needham, the Bus Strategy Programme Manager, outlined the key points in the report and in particular the new powers in the Bus Services Act 2017 to Mayoral Combined Authorities to improve bus services further. The finalised Strategic Outline Business Case would be submitted to the Committee in March and to the Combined Authority in April 2018.
The Chair commented that this had been a very useful update which demonstrated good progress and he said he looked forward to considering the Outline Business Case in March.
Resolved that the contents of the report be noted.
To consider a report of Merseytravel seeking approval for the Rights of Way Improvement Plan to be presented to the Combined Authority for endorsement.
The Committee considered a report of Merseytravel and an accompanying presentation by John Smith, the Programme Development Officer, concerning proposals in respect of the Rights of Way Improvement Plan (ROWIP) which is to be to be presented to the Combined Authority for endorsement.
John Smith set out the background to the Plan and referred to the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 imposing a statutory duty on all local authorities to prepare a ROWIP. He explained what a ROWIP did, the duty to review the Plan, how this happened and how it was developed and implemented. The City Region had previously had two Plans, one for Merseyside and one for Halton, but the new single ROWIP was for the whole City Region with each local authority responsible for the delivery of the Plan in their area.
Councillor Rasmussen asked about funding streams and whether Section 106 planning funding from new developments could be utilised. The response of John Smith was that this had been identified as a possible funding source and he said that ROWIP had not always been thought of as a benefit to new housing developments.
Councillor Friel asked about accessibility issues and the use of prams and mobility scooters and he was assured that this was addressed in the full Plan which was integrated with the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan and sought to address the needs of all users of the network. Councillor Williams asked about runners and John Smith replied that runners and horse riders were all envisaged as potential users. and “Cycling and Walking” was just the generic, catch-all term used.
Councillor Stockton referred to the appendix to the report setting out the individual ROWIP Projects and he suggested that timescale terms such as “medium to long term” were not helpful as they were relative rather than specific. He suggested the information would be clearer if it was possible to give more specific timescales but he also said they should at least be in priority order rather than being listed district by district.
John Smith accepted that there was still work to be done on this list of schemes and that each District had its own responsibilities. He said that the matter would be taken back to the Transport Advisory Group (TAG). In response to an enquiry by Councillor Stockton, the Chair said that the next Members Briefing would consider the Local Journeys Strategy.
Mick Noone added a caveat to the debate, that currently the funding for schemes was difficult and there was also uncertainty about funding in future years so it needed to be understood that there was no assurance about the delivery of every ROWIP scheme.
Councillor Philbin raised an issue about the project to place a footbridge across the Liverpool to Manchester rail line to connect the Upton Rocks residential area to land currently occupied by Widnes Golf Club. There had been a petition against housing on the land at the Golf Club and so he believed ... view the full minutes text for item 70.
Public Question Time
Members of the public will be given the opportunity to ask questions which
have been submitted in accordance with Meetings Standing Orders No.
A period of 30 minutes will be allocated for this item and copies of valid
questions will be circulated at the meeting.
Members of the public who wish to submit questions are asked to contact
Democratic Services by either:
Telephone: 0151 330 1086
In writing: Democratic Services, Merseytravel, No.1 Mann Island, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN
A proforma will be supplied which, for this meeting must be returned by
5.00pm on the Monday 1 January 2018. In this respect, return details are set out in the proforma.
The Committee were advised that one question had been received for this item from Mr John Brace.
Mr Brace was invited to address his question, which was as follows, to Councillor Gordon Friel, the Lead Member for Rail and Freight.
‘As the Lead
Member for Rail and Freight, I am sure you are aware of the recent
strikes over the past year by the RMT union on the Merseyrail train
network about the introduction of new trains (rolling stock) on the
Merseyrail network. The decisions to go for new rolling stock were
made at the Merseytravel Committee meeting and Liverpool City
Region Combined Authority meeting both held on the 16th
Councillor Friel explained that the procurement of new Rolling Stock was not a generic scheme but one that was designed for the needs of Merseyrail. He said that gap between the train and platform was of great importance in particular for the disabled but that also in the light of the incident at James Street where there was a fatality. He believed that the right decision on the new trains had been made as it was critical in making that decision to look at how best to preserve the safety and security of rail users although he said it was not an easy decision and that he knew that it would be scrutinised.
Councillor Friel continued that if an incident was to arise on one of the new trains there would be communication between the driver and the Control Centre and the incident would be attended to at the next station as there was only an average journey time of four minutes between stations and all were staffed. He said that old infrastructure was being renewed and the profile of station platforms would be changed so that the interface with the new trains would work.
In terms of jobs and conditions, Councillor Friel outlined that the offer guaranteed the jobs of the existing workforce and their pay and conditions and he implored all sides in the dispute to get together to discuss the way forward. With the advent of the new trains only a couple of years away, the continuation of this dispute was not in the interests of anyone.
Mr Brace then asked the following supplementary question regarding Guards on the Merseyrail trains.
On the 22nd November 2017, there was an
adjournment debate in the House of Commons on “Guards on
Merseyrail trains”. Merseytravel and the Liverpool City
Region Combined Authority were both referred to during that
Petitions and Statements
Members of the public will be given the opportunity to submit a single
petition or statement in accordance with Meetings Standing Orders No. 11.
Members of the Public who wish to submit a single petition or statement
are asked to contact Democratic Services by either:
Telephone: 0151 330 1086
In writing: Democratic Services, Merseytravel, No.1 Mann Island, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN
All petitions and statements for this meeting should be submitted to
Merseytravel, using the contact details above, by 5pm on the Monday 1 January 2018.
The Committee were advised that no petitions or statements had been received.
The Chair indicated that the following item should be considered as a matter of any other urgent business as a delay in consideration would render the proposed action ineffective.
To consider a report of Merseytravel concerning Air Quality Consultation.
The Committee considered a report of the Lead Officer Transport concerning a draft response to an open consultation by Government on options to support individuals and businesses affected by local Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) plans.
Huw Jenkins explained the background to the report which concerned a serious air quality issue related to Nitrogen Dioxide which posed a threat to public health. The Government had issued a consultation on the air quality measures needed to support individuals and businesses affected by local Nitrogen Dioxide Plans and as the response date was 5 January 2018 it had been brought to this meeting for urgent consideration.
Councillor Williams wished it noted that runners were as affected by this issue as walkers and cyclists and Councillor Friel agreed with the equality and diversity acknowledgement that the poorest and most vulnerable groups such as the elderly were the most exposed to air pollution in areas such as the one he represented and that this needed to be emphasised even more if possible. He said that he remained dissatisfied with the Government for their very poor attempts to address this crucial issue.
Councillor Stockton supported the view expressed by Councillor Friel that this was an issue of huge importance while Councillor Nicholas emphasised that the links between poor air quality and the diminution of public health were now extremely well understood.
Councillor Rowlands said that he agreed with the comments made and that his Group supported the response being proposed and understood the criticism of Government being made.
The Chair, Councillor Robinson, believed that the draft response was a good one and although he agreed with the points made about targeted scrappage schemes he believed that Government should also consider incentivising the use of public transport by schemes such as the offering free public transport passes in return for the scrapping of a vehicle.
Huw Jenkins thanked Members for their contributions and said that he would incorporate the comments received in the response as far as was possible.
Resolved that the draft response to the Government’s consultation on air quality measures to support affected individuals, as set out within the Appendix to this report be endorsed subject to the incorporation of any substantive comments made in the course of the debate.