4.1 Active Travel, E-Scooters and EV Charging Network Update – Michael Edwards, Head of Service Transport and Parking / James Sutton – Sustainable Transport Manager
4.2 Council Fleet Conversion Update – Vicki Emrit, Climate Change Co-ordinator
4.1 Officers presented their progress on the Emergency Active Travel fund. The active travel initiative has been split into two phases. The first phase is currently being undertaken and most schemes have been implemented. Changes have been made to the cycle lanes on Dock Road, officers noted that this has lifted the visibility of cycle lanes.
4.2 With regard to the cycle lanes on Dock Road, Cllr Doe raised concerns that the lanes are on the main route for ambulances and has been informed that there is not enough room to move to the side to allow for the safe passage of emergency vehicles. Action: this is to be addressed in the upcoming safety assessment by the Transport team and measures are to be put in place to rectify this if necessary.
4.3 Members expressed their disappointment with Rochester Bridge Trust (RBT), that no vast improvements for cycle lanes were included in the recent re-design. The bridge is not part of Medway Council Highway. At the design consultation stage, officers similarly raised their concerns over cycling infrastructure with RBT however this was not successful. Members have forwarded complaints they have received to RBT and have been told they will investigate. Members are willing to update the group should they receive further information. Action: RDL to discuss this with Cllr Filmer and request that he raise this with the Bridge Wardens to make them aware.
4.4 Officers cited a positive impact resulting from the temporary widening of footpaths for eleven miles of public right of way.
4.5 The second tranche bid is currently with the Department for Transport (DfT) and officers are awaiting the outcome.
4.6 The Chair advised that for the A2 Chatham Hill scheme, safety checks are to be made for cyclists to share bus lanes. Officers confirmed that they will be looking at a segregation of the lanes on this route.
4.7 Officers provided an overview and an update on the electric vehicle charging point survey that went out in mid-June. There have been 116 responses to date.
4.8 The Chair asked officers whether they knew how other councils were progressing on this as there may be lessons to lean from other councils’ experiences. Action: a roadmap and timescale for delivery of charging points to be established by the next Member Advisory Group meeting by the Transport team.
4.9 Cllr Tranter asked about the Active Travel bid and the exact government requirements for it. Officers confirmed that there is no clear guidance from Department for Transport as to whether they might accept some schemes and not others. Officers expect to receive feedback on the outcome of the bid by the end of the month.
4.10 Cllr Tranter supports the development of an Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points strategy, indicating what the goals and targets are for different areas within Medway. The Chair furthered this by requesting that the strategy includes a step by step agenda, a preliminary indication on where each charging point will be located and the terms and conditions of them. Action: As per above item 4.7, officers to develop a road map for EV charging points by the next Member Advisory Group meeting.
4.11 Cllr Stamp asked officers to actively look at opportunities to increase connectivity along the river. Cllr Stamp suggested that there were opportunities in the medium to long term to link these initiatives with the Natural England Costal Path (see Item 6.1).
4.12 Cllr Stamp asked officers if there is a strategy in place for the promotion of electric bikes as this could encourage people to cycle around Medway more, given that it is hilly. Cllr Stamp queried how the Four Elms scheme will link in and not conflict with the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) bid. Officers agreed that it is important that all schemes fit into Medway Council’s broader strategic picture. If the Active Travel Fund bids are successful, each one will have its own programme and process for engagement and consultation. Officers acknowledge the necessity to promote the use of electric bikes and confirmed that they are looking at promoting them as part of the two schemes located on hills. Action: Martin Hall to raise Active Travel/Transport plans around Four Elms Hill at his next meeting with the HIF consultant (re public access).
Action: Transport and Parking officers to provide an update on infrastructure to support electric bikes as part of scheme development.
4.13 Cllr Stamp noted the importance of learning from the efforts of other councils, for example Brighton and Hove, regarding EV charging points. Their roll out of chargers is proving to be cost neutral and producing an income for the Council. Action: Transport and Parking team to refer to Brighton and Hove in the development of strategy.
4.14 Cllr Stamp highlighted the importance of progressing the installation of EV Charging points quickly so as not to miss opportunities for funding.
4.15 Cllr Stamp would like to see a summary of the EV charge points locations requested via the survey. Officers noted that the survey was promoted via Digital Medway Matters to 6000 people, via the Medway Council Service Update page on Facebook and the Transport Facebook page. Action: Transport and Parking team to provide the group with a summary of EV charge point location requests in response to survey.
4.16 Cllr Gulvin asked officers to review how EV charging points can be incorporated into upcoming plans at the next parking strategy meeting. Cllr Doe noted that at the next Member Advisory Group meeting it would be useful to have specific location details where EV charging points could conveniently be located. Action: Transport and Parking officers to review EV charge points at next Parking Strategy meeting.
4.17 Cllr Hackwell raised concerns over Gillingham Business Park, originally it was granted 30 charging points within the planning permission. There are currently only four; three of which are defective. Cllr Hackwell asked Planning officers to identify the locations where the installation of EV charging points has already been agreed upon and devise a way to monitor and enforce these. Officers highlighted that there are not enough resources to check that all existing charging points are functioning. Action: Planning team to provide Cllr Hackwell with an update on enforcement of EV charge points at Gillingham Business Park.
4.18 Cllr Hackwell asked officers what the current policy is for the replacement of streetlight columns. Officers noted that they are currently reviewing the policy on the replacement of columns and LED lights and reported that they will be working closely with Smart Cities and Transport to consider whether the prospect of street light EV charging points will result in changes to current policy. Action: Transport and Parking officers to provide Cllr Hackwell and Cllr Doe with an update on opportunities to integrate charging points in lighting columns as part of EV strategy.
4.19 Officers provided an update on the council fleet conversion. A working group with officers from across the council has been established and a timeline for replacement is being developed. The next meeting is in mid-October.
4.20 Cllr Gulvin asked officers about the progress of the dedicated Children’s Social Services vehicles. Officers mentioned that this this will not be included in the initial phase. Action: Business Change team to provide Cllr Gulvin with an update on social worker EV pilot.
4.21 Cllr Maple requested reassurance that conversations about electrification of small council fleet vehicles are taking place at the same time as conversations concerning changes in work practices and policies. Officers confirmed that an officer from HR is part of the working group and this will be addressed in the next item of the agenda.
4.22 Medway Youth Council asked for clarification over the type of licence an individual requires to be able to use an E Scooter. Action: Transport and Parking team to clarify licence type for E Scooters and provide MYC with an update.