Venue: Floral Pavilion Theatre, New Brighton, Marine Promenade, New Brighton, Wirral, CH45 2JS
Contact: Lisa Backstrom
Appointment of Chairperson
Jill Coule, the Chief Legal and Monitoring Officer opened the meeting and invited nominations for the appointment of Chairperson of the Transport Committee for the 2021/22 municipal year.
Councillor Gordon Friel nominated Councillor Liam Robinson as the Chair of the Transport Committee for 2021/22 and this was seconded by Councillor Anthony Lavelle.
RESOLVED - That Councillor Liam Robinson be appointed Chairperson of the Transport Committee for 2021/22.
Councillor Liam Robinson
Chairperson of the Transport Committee
(in the chair)
Chairperson's opening remarks
Councillor Liam Robinson expressed his gratitude at being re-elected as Chair and noted how exciting the year ahead was going to be following the re-election of the Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram and the strong manifesto which included a vision for a London style network at its heart.
On behalf of the Committee, the Chair thanked Wirral Council and the Floral Pavilion for hosting the meeting. He highlighted the ongoing impact of the pandemic and thanked frontline workers for keeping the network running. The Chair urged the public to continue wearing face coverings whilst travelling on the public transport.
The Chair welcomed nine new members to the Transport Committee and looked forward to the new ideas and perspectives they would bring over the next year. The Chair also thanked those members who were no longer on the Committee, namely: Councillors M O’Mara, F Wynn, H Thompson, P Cleary,
J Wiseman, M Uddin, S Murphy, P McKinley and J Dodd.
The Chair paid particular tribute to Councillor John Dodd as he served on the Committee since 2001 and made a valuable contribution over the last two decades.
The Chair undertook to personally write to the retiring members expressing thanks on behalf of the Committee.
Appointment of Vice-Chairperson
The Chair, Councillor Liam Robinson invited nominations for the appointment of Deputy Chairperson of the Transport Committee for the 2021/22 municipal year.
Councillor Liam Robinson nominated Councillor Gordon Friel as the Deputy Chairperson of the Transport Committee for 2021/22 and this was seconded by Councillor John Stockton.
RESOLVED - That Councillor Gordon Friel be appointed Deputy Chairperson of the Transport Committee for 2021/22.
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors T Brough,
J Donnelly, H Howard, A Jones, D O’Connor, J Pearson and G Philbin.
Declarations of Interest
Councillor Lindsay Melia declared a personal interest in Item 9 on the agenda ‘Future of Britain’s Railways: Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail’. Councillor Melia’s partner is an employee of Transpennine Express and a member of the RMT Union.
To consider the minutes of the last meeting of the Transport Committee held on 4 March 2021.
RESOLVED - That the minutes of the last meeting of the Transport Committee held on 4 March 2021, be approved as a correct record.
To consider the report of the Monitoring Officer regarding the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Constitution, Committee Terms of Reference and Membership 2021/22.
Jill Coule, Chief Legal and Monitoring Officer presented the Combined Authority Constitution, Committee Terms of Reference and Membership for 2021/22 as appointed by the constituent Local Authorities and approved by the Combined
Authority at its Annual Meeting in June 2021.
The Committee heard that the report highlighted a number of changes, including:-
· Constitutional amendments to reflect that public meetings must now be held in person, rather than remotely;
· That Members of the Transport Committee were bound by the Code of Conduct within their own Local Authority’s Constitution; and
· Slight changes to some of the Lead Member Profiles to correctly reflect the scope of the work within those profiles.
Jill Coule, Chief Legal and Monitoring Officer discussed the recommendations within the report and in noting the appendices to the report, requested that new members be particularly mindful to that information.
The Chair reported that the nominations for Lead Members for 2021/22 were as follows:
(i) the membership of the Transport Committee for 2021/22, be noted;
(ii) the Committee welcomes the following Councillors be appointed to the Committee:-
(iii) the committee places on record its thanks to the following former members, for their work on behalf of the Committee and their contribution to taking forward the transport agenda of the City Region:-
(iv) the responsibility for functions as set out in Part 3 of the Combined
Authority Constitution and in particular those responsibilities referred to and delegated to the Transport Committee in Section F, detailed in Appendix One to the report, be noted;
(v) the Meetings Standing Orders set out in Section A of Part 4 of the
Constitution of the Combined Authority detailed in Appendix Two to the report, in particular the requirement for meetings of the Committee to be held in person, be noted;
(vi) Members of the Transport Committee note that they are bound by the Member Code of Conduct detailed in their own Local Authority’s Constitution; and
(vii) the following the Lead member roles, as outlined in paragraph 3.3 be appointed as follows:-
To consider the report of the Monitoring Officer detailing the cycle of meetings, spokespersons and appointments to outside bodies for 2021/22.
The Committee considered the report of the Monitoring Officer which provided:-
(a) details of the Cycle of meetings for 2021/22; and
(b) sought the appointment of representatives on the relevant outside bodies and spokespersons for each Local Authority.
Jill Coule, Chief Legal and Monitoring Officer advised Members that the report outlined the dates for Transport Committee for the forthcoming year and detailed the current representative to outside bodies. The report also asked Members to note that the Chair of the Transport Committee would continue to be co-opted to the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority as the Portfolio Holder for Transport and Air Quality.
The nominations for appointments to outside bodies were as follows:
The Chairperson advised that the nominations for Local Authority Spokespersons was yet to be determined and this would be provided in writing to the Monitoring Officer separately.
(i) the dates and times of the Transport Committee meetings for the
forthcoming Municipal Year, as detailed in Appendix One to the report be noted and that attendance at the briefing sessions on transport related matters be agreed as an approved duty;
(ii) the following members be appointed to serve on Outside Bodies for
the forthcoming year be as follows and that it be noted these could be subject to change throughout the Municipal Year and the change would be deemed to be appointed as the Combined Authority’s representative on notification being submitted to the Monitoring Officer:-
(iii) details of the Spokespersons for each of the Constituent Local Authorities to answer questions at Council Meetings for the forthcoming year be submitted to Monitoring Officer who on notification will be deemed to have been appointed;
(iv) the continuing appointment by the Combined Authority of the Chair of
the Transport Committee, in respect of the Transport for the North (TfN)
Partnership Board (Substitute Member), the Rail North Committee Member, as well as, as a member of the European Structural and Investment Fund Committee, be noted; and
(v) the appointment of the Chair of the Transport Committee as a co-opted member of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority, holding the
Transport and Air Quality portfolio on behalf of the City Region, be noted.
Independently Powered Electric Multiple Unit (Battery Powered Train) Trial - Presentation
To consider a presentation from David Powell, Rolling Stock Programme Director providing an update on the battery train trials.
The Committee considered a presentation from David Powell, Rolling Stock Programme Director which provided information on battery powered trains and a proposed trial noting the environmental, safety and financial benefits of fitting trains with this technology.
Members were advised that there was space under the rolling stock units to fit batteries and the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority had decided to trial the technology to identify if it was a viable technical option. The trial had been made possible through ‘Transforming Cities’ funding (TCF) and a set of success criteria had been set which included identifying the duration of a train battery and the performance of the battery unit.
It was also highlighted that the ‘Headbolt Lane’ scheme was also funded by TCF and it was hoped that a battery trial could be implemented within this scheme and the expected timeframe.
David Powell outlined the results of testing the technology and highlighted that the final battery charge was better than was expected. In terms of braking and energy recovery it was advised that the independently powered electric multiple unit (IPEMU) was consuming considerably less energy than comparable models and it was expected that the trains battery could run for 20 miles.
Member’s attention was drawn to the proposed routes for a trail of the technology and the benefits of each option, noting that the longer routes provided better infrastructure savings. A business case for each of the routes had been developed and there were considerable future expansion possibilities for the technology.
Members were informed that in terms of next steps, a formal decision had been made by Merseytravel to trial the technology at Headbolt Lane and the process to convert seven of the Class 777 trains to IPEMU technology was underway.
The Chair welcomed the presentation noting that way the city region was leading the rail industry in this country and the potential to expand the Mersey Rail Network as a key part of the Metro Mayor’s vision.
The Committee were invited to ask questions/make comments on the presentation.
Councillor Gordon Friel sought clarity on the Office for Road and Rail Safety’s objection to third rail and it was explained that due to infrequent accidents the technology was being heavily scrutinised, and that the proposed battery technology in this trial was not subject to the same concerns.
The Committee welcomed the presentation which they felt helped to deliver affordable and reliable transport to the public in the city region.
Councillor Nathalie Nicholas noted a similar retrofit project in Essex on class 379 trains and asked what shared learning there had been in relation to that scheme. The Committee were assured that there had been discussions with the Essex Project Manager and that project had formed the genesis for the trial being proposed today.
The Committee discussed the budget for the Rolling Stock Programme and were advised that all of the direct commissioning by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority was on target but there were challenges relating to the services ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
To consider the report of the Assistant Director for Rail providing Members of the Transport Committee with an overview of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail.
The Committee considered the report of the Assistant Director for Rail which provided information on the recent publication of the Government White Paper – Williams Shapps Plan for Rail and the impacts of the proposals on the
local rail network.
In this respect, Tony Killen, Rail Development Advisor, presented the report which advised that the Williams Shapps Plan for Rail sought to put the passenger first and focus on the structure and accountability of the rail industry. Publication had been delayed in order to consider the impact of covid on the future of railways.
He provided a summary of the Williams-Shapps plan for rail which sought to put the passenger first and focus on the structure and accountability of the rail industry.
Member’s attention was drawn to the key findings which were detailed at section 4 of the report and the risks detailed at section 6.
He highlighted that the plan proposed the development a new organisation, ‘Great British Railways’ (GBR) which would combine Network Rail and train operators and develop the concept of “One controlling mind” for the rail industry.
He added that there was the potential for Liverpool City Region Combined Authority (LCRCA) to work closer with Network Rail and set up a pilot programme for local control of the network.
Further reports and updates would be provided as the new GBR structure and plans were developed to ensure that opportunities were maximised for LCRCA to input and influence the proposed new structures.
Members of the Committee were given the opportunity to ask questions/make comments on the report.
Councillor Lindsay Melia expressed concern that the new ‘GBR’ organisation would be tasked with driving down costs , including operational which was a real risk of cuts to jobs in the industry and impact on pensions. She was also concerned that decisions were being made on short term thinking. Passenger numbers were low due to the pandemic and it wouldn’t be fair for anyone to lose their job because of that.
The Chair affirmed how important railways careers were for City Region residents and children’s futures. He was proud of the fact that we had a fully staffed rail network and stations. He wanted that to continue and not be threatened by a Government reorganisation, particularly where there were other areas to legitimately squeeze out costs but not operation areas.
Councillor Nathalie Nicholas referred to section 4.17 of the report welcomed the recognition of freight because kept lorries off the road, helping to reduce carbon. She hoped that they would build on it and allocate funding for it. She also expressed concern paying an operator to manage and the potential of having no control over a failing operator. Councillor Nicholas also referred to section 4.20 of the report and the ticketing app. Again she expressed concern that it could exclude people who were not digitally engaged. In relation to alignment with Transport for London (TfL), she didn’t want a ‘London centric’ system where we didn’t have an input.
To consider the report of Merseytravel to provide Members with details on the revenue and capital outturn for Merseytravel for the financial year 2020/21.
The Committee considered the report of Merseytravel which detailed the revenue and capital outturn for Merseytravel for the financial year ending 31March 2021, and the reserves as a consequence.
Sarah Johnston, Assistant Director for Finance advised that attention needed to be paid to the outturn and explanations of the variances particularly at paragraphs 3.6 3.7 and Appendix 2 of the report.
Given the impact of covid, the capital programme had been revised as detailed at section 3.8 as there had been considerable slippage.
Rolling stock was not contained in the revised budget as there was a detailed review being undertaken of the rolling stock position which would be incorporated into a revised budget and reported back to members in due course.
She concluded and stated that whilst the overall position of reserves looked healthy there were still some significant financial risks faced by the organisation, details of which were contained in section 3.14 of the report.
Councillor Steve Foulkes advised that hopefully the format used was understandable for new members. Budget issues were faced by all Local Authorities and whilst this looked like a robust outcome it was set against a rejigged, ‘best guess budget. There was still uncertainty and we must remain cautious. There had been a year-on-year loss of 2% in the rail support grant which was worth £0.25 million per year. He commended officers for getting as close to balance as possible. He added that the levy freeze in relation to Wirral was a saving in the region of £460,000.
Councillor John Stockton reflected on the state of the finances of the organisation going forward and asked how robust they were over the next 5-10 years. He also asked about the impact of covid on the finances. Lastly, he if there had been an impact on the climate change agenda and how much money could be allocated towards it.
John Fogarty, Executive Director of Corporate Services advised that the organisation was a going concern and external Auditors were not questioning its viability. He acknowledged that there were some risks but adequate provision had been made for those risks. It was difficult to quantify the impact of covid financially, especially in relation to the effects on the public transport environment. Funding had been received from Government last year in order to continue paying Bus Operators at pre-covid levels to avoid risks of de-stabilisation. Funding had been announced in the form of a Bus recovery package. In relation to the impact on climate change and the net zero carbon target, there were a lot of political decisions to be taken. His team had been assisting the Metro Mayor with a post-covid medium-term budget strategy and looking at funding for Mayoral priorities.
The Chair thanked John Fogarty for his response and agreed that we were not out of woods yet. A keen eye would be kept on finances and he looked forward to further update reports to future meetings.
RESOLVED – That the content of the report be noted. ... view the full minutes text for item 11.
To consider a report of Merseytravel updating Members of the Transport Committee on key bus issues relating to the first quarter of 2021/22.
The Committee considered the report of Merseytravel which provided an update on key bus issues relating to the first quarter of 2021/22.
Tony McDonough, Bus Network Performance Manager highlighted that the report:-
(a) provided an update on the milestones of the Bus Alliance;
(b) detailed report progress on the assessment into Bus Reform, Hybus Trial Project and Green Bus Routes Programme; and
(c) provided an overview of how the Bus Team continued to work with bus operators to support the maintenance of a safe and reliable bus network whilst dealing with the challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Tony McDonagh in dealing with the covid response, there had been close collaborative working both with large and small bus operators.
He referenced the Bus Service Improvement Plan which was an ambitious document seeking to secure £3 billion pounds of funding. The Plan was due to be finalised by the end of October 2021.
Tony McDonough referred to the new City Centre bus maps examples of which were on display at the meeting.
He advised that in relation to the Travelsafe Partnership, a report on the impact of sexual harassment on the bus network had been commissioned. The impact assessment was due on this by the end of May 2022.
Councillor Gordon Friel referenced the resource implications section in section 4 of the report, in particular, there were no IT implications. He asked if any thought had been given to ransomware or a cyber-attack.
Tony McDonough advised that a piece of work was being conducted internally by Ian Hawkins, Head of IT.
Councillor John Stockton, thanked Tony McDonough, Matt Goggins and colleagues, advising they were moving a lot of work forward.
Councillor Nathalie Nicholas requested that talking buses be added to the ‘wish list’. In London, buses were able to tell you which stop you were approaching.
Councillor Liam Robinson indicated it was clear in the Metro Mayor’s manifesto his aspiration for a ‘London style’ transport system and that all new buses should be ‘talking’ buses, similar to trams and trains.
RESOLVED – That the content of the report be noted.
To update members on a new consultation on
proposed changes to the East Coast train timetable and the impact
this would have on the LCR.
The Committee considered the report of the Assistant Director for Rail which provided information on the recent publication of a consultation on proposed changes to the rail timetable on the East Coast Mainline and the effect of these changes in particular on the current Liverpool to Edinburgh service.
In this respect, Tony Killen, Rail Development Advisor highlighted:-
· The consultation timetable;
· he East Coast Main Line had a limited capacity and not all services that were currently in the timetable as well as the additional planned services could be operated on the line; and
· the proposed new timetable would see additional services on the East Coast but at the expense of some services that connected across Northern Cities;
He advised that the initial consideration was that existing northern services should be retained ahead of additional services to London. Further consideration of all the proposed changes would be given in order to prepare a comprehensive response to the consultation by the deadline of 5 August 2021.
The Chair indicated that due to the short timescale, delegated authority was sought, for him in consultation with the Interim Executive Director for Integrated Transport to approve of the final version of the response. The draft response would be circulated to all members of the Committee a few days prior to the deadline to provide an opportunity for comments.
The Chair explained the reason for commenting on this consultation was because these proposed changed would end the direct service from Liverpool Lime Street to Edinburgh and be curtailed at Newcastle. This was unacceptable. Colleagues in the North East were also in agreement and preferred prioritisation of east-west services. He felt that this was levelling down rather than up and he would ensure that all concerns were reflected in the consultation response.
(i) the contents of the report, be noted; and
(ii) due to the timescales, delegated authority be granted to the Interim Executive Director of Integrated Transport in consultation with the Chairperson of the Transport Committee to approve the final version of the consultation response, prior to its submission by 5 August 2021.
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. 11.
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, LCR Combined Authority, No.1 Mann Island, PO Box 1976, Liverpool, L69 3HN
A pro-forma will be supplied which, for this meeting must be returned by
5.00pm on 12 July 2021. In this respect, return details are set out in the pro-forma.
There were no public questions received.
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, LCR Combined Authority, 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 5.00pm on 12 July 2021.
There were no petitions or statements received.
Any Other Urgent Business Approved by the Chairperson
The Chair referred to the impending retirement of Frank Rogers, the Chief
Executive of the Combined Authority. Unfortunately, Frank couldn’t attend the meeting but the Chair took the opportunity to send his best wishes to Frank and his family.
He provided a potted history of Frank’s career. He acknowledged Frank’s role
in building up the Combined Authority as an organisation following the election of the Metro Mayor in 2017 and mentioned a number of the major projects that he had been part of.
The Chair paid tribute to Frank’s achievements during his time with the organisation. He also thanked Frank on a personal level for the help and support he had given him over the years. Frank was a great example and role model for young people in the City Region
On behalf of the Committee, the Chair extended his heartfelt thanks, congratulations and best wishes for a long and happy retirement.
Minutes 1 to 17 received as a correct record on the 16 day of September 2021.