To consider the report of the Executive Director for Policy, Strategy and Government Relations.
Members of the Transport Committee considered a report of the Executive Director for Policy, Strategy and Government Relations, which updated members on progress in the development of a new Local Transport Plan (LTP) for the Liverpool City Region.
Suzanne Cain, Transport Policy Co-ordinator, asked Members of the Transport Committee to note the key messages that had emerged from the public consultation process, which included the broad endorsement of the plan’s overall direction with no primary issues identified. A comprehensive scope of information had been gathered from various engagement and consultation methods, which had been incorporated into the report.
Huw Jenkins, Lead Officer for Transport Policy, set out the headline findings from the transport modelling of the four future travel scenarios which had been developed, along with the challenges presented that will shape the development of the LTP’s preferred strategy. It was explained that the report helped quantify the plan in terms of its deliverability via achievable goals, which could result in Merseyside performing better than the Government base case. The Committee also heard how, along with the risk of delays in guidance from Government, the carbon modelling identified a significant challenge ahead.
Before the findings from the “State of Freight” section of the report was discussed, Members were invited to ask questions on the findings of the consultation and modelling processes. Clarification was sought over the engagement with schools and representation of the six local authorities; it was confirmed that schools from each of the authorities had been included in the process. A discussion was held around the plan’s focus to be “child friendly” and how the move away from dependency on cars in particular tied in with the identified risk of health across the city region.
Reference was made to the over 55’s consultation and it was asked if a distinction between the concepts of health and crime had been identified where “safety” was concerned. The Committee were informed that the over 55s consultation had been an open-ended engagement and that part of the next step was to pick up on the specifics. It was acknowledged that the consultation process had suggested that travel habits had changed over the pandemic for over 55s in particular.
Reference was made to the current uncertainty amid recent changes in Government policy which affected the Northern Powerhouse and related grants. The Committee acknowledged that no Conservative Councillors were in attendance to offer a more informed view of the “mood music” within Government and so there was no speculation as to where those discussions were up to at a national level.
The Committee then heard additional information updating members on the “State of Freight” workstream and its place within the Local Transport Plan, with particular emphasis on the city region’s ports. The report had identified a high density of HGV traffic moving up through the country from ports in the south. It was explained how this evidence based approach could be used to comprehensively consider all options, implications and alternatives for the correct intervention. The importance of the emerging work was recognised and it was suggested that a members briefing session should be set up in due course.
The possibility of the use of drones for delivery was raised by a member and it was clarified that, before looking to solutions and improvements, it was vital to identify exactly what was going were. The Committee were assured that the region was open to innovation and that freight could play a major role in the future of this important shift.
RESOLVED – That:-
(i) the depth of the consultation that has been undertaken on the Vision and Goals document that forms a first stage in the development of the new Local Transport Plan (LTP), including the key messages emerging together with the broad support for the new plans vision, be noted;
(ii) the headline findings from the modelling of the four future travel scenarios developed and that will shape the development of the LTP?s preferred strategy be noted;
(iii) the work underway to build a more detailed picture of freight movements across the city region as part of the evidence that will inform the LTP and future investment and lobbying activities be noted;
(iv) the Integrated Assessment of the LTP that is underway to identify, and mitigate against the plan’s risks or implications on the environment, on equality and diversity and on social value be noted; and
(v) there is delay to the publication of new, draft guidance on LTP’s by the Department for Transport and that this introduces a degree of risk be noted.