To receive a presentation from Huw Jenkins, Lead Officer, Transport in relation to the Air Quality Action Plan update.
The Committee received a verbal update from Huw Jenkins (Policy Lead – Transport) relating to the Air Quality Action Plan, he highlighted the following: -
· January 2018 – Combined Authority’s (CA) Overview and Scrutiny Committee (O&SC) established a Task and Finish Group on Air Quality;
· June 2018 – O&SC proposed recommendations to the CA, which were welcomed and are now being implemented;
· Regular updates are provided to the O&SC; and
· The profile of air quality issues continues to grow at a national and Liverpool City Region (LCR) level.
· Preliminary transport feasibility study on air quality commissioned last year;
· Additional feasibility work commissioned by the CA Spatial Planning Team on non-transport pollution sources;
· The Air Quality Task Force (AQTF) members formally appointed and includes Public Health England, Director of Health, Chief Executives, Leaders and High level politicians from across the 6 Local Authorities with the first meeting being held on 26th March 2019; and
· Liverpool City Council (LCC) mandated by DEFRA to develop options to manage air pollution exceedances and to develop a strategic outline business case.
· CA’s Air Quality Action Plan linked to feasibility studies and LCC development work with DEFRA;
· A further update to be submitted to the O&SC at a future meeting;
· Development of proposals for LCR-wide cycle network and Green Bus Routes via £172m Transforming Cities Fund;
· Proposals for new smart ticketing portal;
· Developing options for hydrogen fuels in conjunction with Merseytravel and bus operators;
· Delivery of the LCC Connectivity Schemes; and
· New Merseyrail Rolling Stock.
· Highlighting the aims and themes for activities;
· National recognition and involvement with the Mayor of London and the “New Clean Air” Act lobby as part of the “Let London Breathe” and “Love Clean Air” activities; and
· Contributions to the Environment Bill: policy paper.
Members enquired about the following: -
· Delivering on Smart Ticketing/Contactless, what’s the point of the Walrus Card;
· Hydrogen buses are great, but would smaller bus companies be able to afford it and how would it be enforced;
· Issues raised at a regional level could be taken through the Bus Consultative Forum;
· Did the Task and Finish Group consider lobbying Government or manufacturers of petrol and diesel cars in order to influence and change legislation;
· Smart ticketing should be reviewed and consideration given to out of hours workers/night time workers etc and its safe usage;
· O&SC in 2019-20 would more than likely involve new members on the committee, so the action plan needs to be in writing with regular updates to the Committee and presented with a RAG rating;
Huw Jenkins informed the Committee that in relation to smart ticketing, it was people’s preference to have an account based product that can be linked to a smart phone, smart watch and bank card etc. He stated that hydrogen buses needed to be affordable and that sensible commercial decisions needed to be made to attract Government incentives through OLEV for bus companies to invest in hydrogen buses with consideration being given to refuelling depots. He recognised that something needed to be done sub-regionally, regionally and at a national level. London was already looking at a lower emissions scrappage scheme.
The Committee noted the verbal update from Huw Jenkins.