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Agenda item

Revenue Outturn 2017/18 – Allocation of Underspend

Minutes:

Mr Mark Green, the Director of Finance and Business Improvement introduced his report on the Revenue Outturn 2017/18 – Allocation of Underspend in which he advised that Policy and Resources Committee had invited all the Service Committees to submit a proposal as to the allocation of the underspend to be spent on specific projects.

 

Mr Duncan Haynes, the Mid-Kent Environmental Protect Team Leader was invited by the Chairman to inform the Committee of a potential use for the underspend to carry out a feasibility study into a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) or Low Emission Zone (LEZ) in Maidstone.

 

The Committee was advised that the actions in the Council’s Air Quality Action Plan/Low Emission Strategy had been divided into a number of themes, the most important being Transport.  One of the actions was to undertake a feasibility study into a Clean Air Zone or Low Emission Zone in Maidstone and focus on the areas around the High Street.  However, since that action was formulated, Officers had obtained data that showed pollution levels around Upper Stone Street were much higher so this would be the area concentrated on should a feasibility study be funded. 

Therefore the scope of the study would focus on Stone Street but any measures implemented would include the route to and from the town centre via Loose Road (including the Wheafsheaf  junction).

 

It was noted that the action plan was clear in that it stated that the feasibility study could only be carried out if the required funding was found.  A quotation was obtained and an application to Defra for funding had been made but proved unsuccessful.

 

In the absence of any funding, it was proposed that £30k be requested from the underspend to enable Officers to commission the feasibility study.

 

In response to questions from Members, Mr Haynes responded that:-

·  He would circulate to Members the data regarding air quality which related to Stone Street and the Wheatsheaf junction.

·  The low emissions zone would focus firstly on vehicles that emitted the highest emissions, for example buses and then move onto the next most polluting sector.

·  That it was mainly Metropolitan Borough Councils that were successful in their bid for funding from Defra and the fact that they had success was probably due to the fact that the low emissions sanctions had been forced upon them.

·  That the feasibility study would take in all the one way system, not just Stone Street.

In response to a question from a Member, the Head of Housing and Community Services confirmed that the Strategic Planning, Sustainability and Transportation Committee looks at the policy for low emissions but the Communities, Housing and Environment Committee looked after the monitoring and implementation.

The Committee made the following comments:-

 

·  That the health of residents in the borough was their first concern and the underspend should be used to ensure the health of residents was protected

·  That a decision on the underspend should be dealt with by full Council, not just Policy and Resources Committee

·  That the planting of trees up Stone Street would help to absorb some of the pollution in the area

·  Re-routing buses away from Stone Street would cause further congestion on unsuitable roads

·  That the underspend should be put in reserves for the homeless

·  That the action plan gives the Council the right to take the work forward, it is not something that KCC can do.

·  That the bus companies should be required to use low emission vehicles

 

RESOLVED:  That this Committee recommend to Policy and Resources Committee that £30,000 be used from the underspend to commission a low emissions feasibility study. 

 

Voting:  For:  5  Against:  4  Abstentions:  0

 

The Chairman used his casting vote in favour of Option 1.

 

Supporting documents:

 

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