Agenda and draft minutes

Joint Meeting of the Cabinet / Streetscene and Engineering Scrutiny Committees - Friday, 22nd January, 2021 1.30 pm

Venue: Via Microsoft Teams

No. Item


Appointment of Chairperson and Vice Chairperson


It was agreed that Councillor R.Wood be appointed Chairperson and that Councillor S.Paddison be appointed Vice Chairperson for the meeting.                


Chairperson's Announcement/s


The Chair thanked all those who had helped and provided their support in the recent flooding incident in the Skewen ward within the County Borough. 


Bus Emergency Scheme 2 (Contained within the Cabinet Papers)


The Committee was presented with a report in relation to the Bus Emergency Scheme (BES) 2; the report set out the wider context of the scheme which had been introduced as a result of the pandemic.

It was explained that prior to the pandemic, Welsh Government proposed changes to the way in which bus services would be delivered in Wales; a Bus Bill was due to have been brought forward during the current Senedd term, however pressures associated with Covid 19 had meant that a large volume of legal work, along with the Brexit transition, had resulted in that bill being delayed. Officers highlighted that as there was such a large amount of public funding in bus services, Welsh Government and Local Authorities wanted the public sector to have greater influence over areas such as the bus networks and services they provide, ticketing and integration across the board and rail services.

Members were informed that Welsh Government were working closely with Transport for Wales, which now included buses; they had provided a lot of support, firstly with Bus Emergency Scheme 1 and followed with Bus Emergency Scheme 1.5. It was noted that each scheme in turn had a set of criteria to follow, to make them more accountable for the public money they were receiving to support their organisations as they were delivering the services. Officers mentioned that the new scheme was more significant than the previous agreement as it contained a lot more conditions for the bus operators.

The Integrated Impact Assessment (IIA), contained within the circulated report, stated that there were no impacts on the valley communities associated to the BES 2 agreement; Members asked if Officers could clarify why the valleys weren’t impacted. Officers explained that this particular report was in relation to the background administration and not services on the ground, and as such was not something that would have any impact on the valleys. Officers confirmed that when they received further details on the network review of services, they would report back to Members.

Officers were asked to explain the benefits of the Council signing into the BES 2 agreement. It was noted that the Council would have greater influence with the bus service operators and could make decisions in relation to how they would operate in the future; it will allow for a more all-encompassing network that will work for the Council, Transport for Wales and the public. Officers mentioned that bus services had been withdrawn on a regular basis from various areas within the County Borough; the scheme will provide the Council with some degree of control over the service, including being able to challenge decisions made by bus operators. It was added that currently, the Council subsidises local bus services for valley and rural communities that were not commercially viable, with the agreement in place, partnerships would be developed in order to overcome this; Officers were already working with the consultants employed by Welsh Government on the strategic bus network, and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.