006. Lancashire CC, Sustainable Development & Scrutiny

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Minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 24th June 2008.
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   1 Lancashire County CouncilSustainable Development Overview and Scrutiny CommitteeMinutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 24 June 2008 at County Hall,PrestonPresent: County Councillor P Martin (Chair) County Councillors M BarronF De MolfettaS FishwickE ForshawA JonesS RobinsonD YatesK Young   Apologies for absence were received from County Councillors E Oades, AThornton, A Whittaker and F Williams. Appointment of Chair and Deputy Chairs1. Resolved: That the appointment by the Full Council on the 29 May2008, of County Councillor P Martin as Chair of the Sustainable DevelopmentOverview and Scrutiny Committee and County Councillors F De Molfetta andK Young as Deputy Chairs for the following year be noted. Membership and Terms of Reference of the Committee Details of the Membership and Terms of Reference for the SustainableDevelopment Overview and Scrutiny Committee were presented for information. 2. Resolved: That the Terms of Reference for the SustainableDevelopment Overview and Scrutiny Committee, as now presented, be noted.  Disclosure of Personal and Prejudicial Interests County Councillor S Fishwick declared a personal, non-prejudicial interest initem 7 (ParkWise) because she was a Member of Lancaster City Council.County Councillor S Robinson declared a personal, non-prejudicial interest initem 5 (Lancashire Response to the Pitt Review) because she was a Member of the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Authority. Minutes of the meeting held on the 14 May 20083. Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on the 14 May2008, as now presented, be confirmed and signed by the Chair.   2The Chair informed the Committee that item 7 (ParkWise) would be moved tothe end of the Agenda in order to allow the Committee to consider moving intoPart II (exclusion of press and public) to discuss confidential, financialinformation. Lancashire Response to the Pitt Review: Learning Lessons from the2007 Floods Clare Phillips, Environmental Team Leader, Environment Directorate andBernard Kershaw, Principal Emergency Planning Officer, ResourcesDirectorate attended to present the report.The Committee had previously received an overview on issues andresponsibilities relating to flood management in Lancashire. The Committeehad also been informed that the first interim report of the Pitt inquiry was to bepublished in December 2007. The Committee had asked that a further reportbe supplied when the Lancashire Resilience Working Group had had theopportunity to consider that interim report, and Appendix ‘A’ to the report nowpresented detailed the response from the Lancashire Resilience Forum.A response to the interim Pitt Report was also provided by the CountyCouncil. The Council was largely in support of the conclusions drawn, andhad outlined where, in its experience, it felt certain additional clarifications andimprovements could be made. Appendix ‘B’ to the report set out the responsefrom Lancashire County Council.An overview of current activity was also provided in the report.The Committee was now informed that the final report of the Pitt Review wasto be published the day after this meeting. It was decided therefore that afurther report would be provided to the October meeting of the SustainableDevelopment Overview and Scrutiny Committee, by which time it was hopedthat a multi agency response could be reported.It was emphasised that there were several different types of flooding,including river floods, coastal floods, windstorm events, and rapid-onset flashflooding, each of which required a different type of response. Flash floodingwas the dominant type of flooding in the summer 2007. This sort of floodingwas very challenging to deal with because of the speed at which it occurredand dispersed.The Committee was assured that a substantial amount of work had alreadybeen done by the Lancashire Resilience Forum (LRF). Pitt had brought extrafocus. Four of the fifteen recommendations made by Pitt had related to theLRF and had now been regarded by him as being completed.Members raised a number of comments and questions, the main points of which are summarised below:   3 ã Members felt that it was most important for people to understand who wasresponsible for what action in a flood situation. It was noted that Pitt hadused a generic term ‘local authority’ in his report. This did not appear toconsider which tier of local government would take the lead in two-tier areas. The County Council had therefore asked for clarification. The steer appeared to be that the upper tier local authority should take the lead. ã DEFRA (Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) was thelead Government Department with a lot of work being discharged by theEnvironment Agency. ã It was explained to the Committee that the principles behind responseplans tended to be generic rather than detailed; each incident wouldinevitably require a response according to the specific circumstances of that incident. All agencies contributed to the response and the approachnow adopted had developed over time. Pitt had highlighted the potentialfor uncertainty in a live situation. ã It was confirmed that United Utilities would be closely involved indiscussions as part of the multi-agency community. ã Members were informed that some 12-14 flood warnings had beenhandled in Lancashire in January this year. Met Office information hadbeen very accurate and there had been a successful, co-ordinated, multi-agency response. Further lessons had been learned and procedurescontinued to be improved. The point was made that the County Councilwas not usually, directly involved at the time a flood incident was ongoingas its main role was around recovery and support. ã In response to a question about the role of elected Members in floodsituations, the Committee was informed that there were moves to increaseinvolvement at local level. It would be particularly important for Members toprovide information and support to local people in the recovery phase,after a flood, to direct people to the appropriate help and services. It wasconfirmed that the Emergency Planning team would alert the local Member when an incident occurred. ã In terms of getting accurate and timely information to people at risk,Members were informed about an Automated Voice Messaging service,via which the Environment Agency alerts people, who live in flood riskareas, in risk situations. People were currently required to opt-in to thisservice, however Pitt had recommended that this should be changed to anopt-out service. It was important to encourage people who live in flood riskareas to use this facility. Alternatively, people seeking information wereadvised to contact the Environment Agency in the first instance. ã The Committee was assured that the Environment Agency had addressedthe issue of ensuring that there were effective means of getting informationto hearing impaired or visually impaired people, and the need to consider people who were physically unable to respond in certain flood situations. ã It was confirmed that there was no legal requirement to forcibly evacuatepeople in a flood situation, they can only be advised to do so, butultimately it would be a decision for each individual. ã The Chair acknowledged that the weather was unpredictable and thatflash flooding could occur at any time. There was evidence of lots of good   4practice and a lot had been learned. It was essential to be clear aboutroles and responsibilities, and for close partnership working. Effectivecommunication was also very important. 4. Resolved: Thati. A further report regarding the response to the Final Report of the PittReview be supplied to the Sustainable Development Overview andScrutiny Committee in October 2008; andii. A representative from the Environment Agency be invited to attend theOctober meeting of the Committee. Review of Regional Funding Allocation and Major Transport Schemes inLancashire The report was presented by Ray Worthington, Local Transport PlanningOfficer, Environment Directorate.The report advised the Committee of the background to the RegionalFunding Allocation (RFA) process and the current position relating toproposed major transport schemes in Lancashire.The Government had announced as part of the Sub-National Review that itwould undertake a second, expanded Regional Funding Allocations exercisein the Comprehensive Spending Review 2008/09 to 2010/11. This wasexpected to begin in early summer 2008, with completion around the end of the year.Guidance was expected to take account of the latest transport policybackground and was awaited shortly. It was anticipated that transportauthorities would be invited to submit further schemes for considerationwithin the next two months.Possible schemes to be submitted in Lancashire were listed in the report.The purpose of the report was to inform the Committee about themechanism for establishing priorities. Members were advised to contactofficers outside the meeting if they had specific schemes to discuss.One Member asked for more information about the current position in relationto a High Court challenge to the Heysham – M6 scheme that was referred toin Appendix ‘B’ to the report. It was explained that this was a challenge to theGovernment, not the County Council, and therefore there might be limitedinformation available. The Chair suggested that the viability of this request beinvestigated and that further consideration be given to bringing informationabout this back to the Committee.
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