Councillor Maney presented the report to the Committee. He confirmed that whilst his portfolio covers highways, transport and community safety, the community safety part of the report is not relevant to this Committee and that the appropriate Committee to discuss those parts of the portfolio would be at the Cleaner, Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Councillor Maney summarised that Thurrock has an extensive road network with 545km of carriage way that require year-round maintenance. He confirmed that 5087 inspections have been completed as a result of people reporting issues on the highways on the Council’s website. He stated that every school in Thurrock has been offered some sort of road safety training. He highlighted that there is a bus shelter replacement programme underway to replace 71 bus shelters.
Councillor Maney confirmed that car cruises around Lakeside remains an ongoing problem and a task force has been set up to try and find a solution to this.
Councillor Maney stated that the parking enforcement officers team is growing and they are close to doubling the size of the team and they are working towards a 24/7 operation. 6434 PCN’s have been issued for HGV parking infringements.
The Chair thanked Councillor Maney for attending the Committee.
Councillor Kelly noted that there will be increased freight trains to Tilbury docks and questioned whether there will be infrastructure put in place in East Tilbury to reduce pressure on the network.
Councillor Maney agreed that the crossings are at capacity now and with the freeport coming and more homes being built, investment in the rail infrastructure is essential.
Councillor Raper noted that there were a lot of abbreviations and acronyms in the report and she requested that the names are given in full in the future. She queried how projected projects will be affected by the Council’s financial situation.
Councillor Maney responded that he could not answer the question at this time.
Councillor Allen raised concerns regarding increased transport around the Thurrock ports in particular the ASDA roundabout and queried the future for that roundabout.
Councillor Maney stated that there were incidents on that roundabout with trailers overturning, it is taking too much traffic and something needs to be done. It is a major entrance and exit into Tilbury. He referred the question to officers.
The Chief Engineer responded that the junction is a National Highways asset and not a Thurrock Council asset. He confirmed that they will be lobbying for enhancement of that injunction and tying it into the local plan.
Councillor Allen noted that he had raised concerns to National Highways about debris around the ASDA roundabout but nothing has been done.
The Strategic Lead for Transport Services responded that he will pass the comments on to National Highways and Connect Plus as they are the contractor for National Highways who completes this work.
Councillor Gledhill noted that it was positive the Tilbury cycle path opening times were extended but questioned the lack of quantitative measurement of its success.
Councillor Maney stated that the information he has received from officers is that it is a success and as it is open for longer it is reaching more people.
Councillor Gledhill queried why not one electrical vehicle charging point was installed at the new Beaconsfield development.
Councillor Maney responded that electrical vehicle charging points are something being looked at in the planning process and the local plan. The current focus is on providing charging points at central locations such as town centres and other strategic locations rather than individual streets.
Councillor Gledhill highlighted that in his view it had been better dealing with portfolio holder reports at Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting rather than at Cabinet meetings as a lot more questions can be asked.
Councillor Watson queried what it would require to get more electric charging points installed as quite a few residents have asked about this.
Councillor Maney stated that he had also been approached by residents requesting electric charging points outside their homes and whilst he agreed they need to make them as accessible as possible in the Borough they are focussing now on putting them in strategic places.
The Chief Engineer confirmed his team is responsible for electrical vehicle planning and it is being included in the local plan as a policy. The focus is on main town centres such as Grays, Corringham and South Ockendon. They will also be looking at provision for those who don’t have off street parking. The Council has commissioned 4 charging points in two locations. A bid has also been completed for 13 locations with a total of 70 charging points.
Councillor Watson complimented the work completed regarding road safety.
The Chair passed on his thanks to the Highways Infrastructure Team for their support in filling in the tunnels produced by the Just Stop Oil protestors and for acting swiftly.