Agenda and minutes

Additional Meeting, Prosperous Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday 11th January 2024 2:00pm

Venue: Oak Room, County Buildings, Stafford. View directions

Contact: Jonathan Lindop  Email:


No. Item


Declarations of Interest

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There were no Declarations of Interest made.


Minutes of meeting held on 13 December 2023 pdf icon PDF 165 KB

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RESOLVED - That the minutes of the meeting held on 13 December 2023 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.


Update on the Preparation of the Staffordshire Local Transport Plan pdf icon PDF 476 KB

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The Committee considered a report of the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport updating them on the progress made in the preparation of a new Staffordshire Local Transport Plan (LTP4) (schedule 1 to the signed minutes).


The County Council were required to produce a Local Transport Plan under the Transport Act 2008 setting out the transport goals and objectives for their area with a view to maintaining and improving transportation for residents for the period until 2025.


At their meeting on 22 March 2023, the Committee learned of new draft Guidance for LTPs which had been published by Central Government. Whilst final Statutory Guidance was still awaited, recent announcements (eg cancellation of HS2 Phase 2 and delay in the ban of new petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles), indicated a shift in national transport policy. However, work was continuing on the preparation of a new Plan owing to its importance for the Authority’s Highway Maintenance and Integrated Block allocations, bids for external funding (eg Network North grants) and the need to give clarity to their approach to managing and maintaining the existing Highway network etc.


Members learned that an important aspect of producing LTP4 was an evaluation of the success of the policies included in the previous LTP3. Therefore, they noted the following objectives contained in this Plan together with the Cabinet Members’ assessment of the extent to which each objective had been met over the Plan period:-


(i) Improve Journey Time Reliability


Data from the Department for Transport indicated that there had been an overall increase in vehicle miles travelled from 5.63 billion in 2011 to 5.87 in 2022. Whilst various Highway Improvement schemes had sought to facilitate the expeditious movement of traffic data from the National Highway and Transport Satisfaction Survey indicated an 8% fall in the level of satisfaction in addressing congestion.


(ii) Improve Access to Employment


Improving access to existing and new employment sites in the County had been a primary for the Council. Although, employment levels were not directly linked to improvements in transportation, they had increased during the Plan period. In addition, the number of young people Not in Education, Employment or Training had seen significant reductions when compared to neighbouring Authorities.


(iii) Maintain Current Condition of the Highway Network


Maintaining the condition of the Highway network had been particularly challenging since 2011 owing to a reduction in funding by Central Government, increasing costs and higher volume of traffic. However, in March 2023 the County Council an extra £30m investment in Highway works during 2024/25 and 2025/26 in addition to their existing £50m annual spend on Highway maintenance.


(iv)  Increase Bus Patronage Levels


Bus patronage had shown a significant overall decline during LTP3’s plan period. There had been 22 million passenger journeys in 2009/10 whereas there had only been 5.9 million journeys in 2018/19. This trend had been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic which saw 9.1 million during 2021/22. However, certain routes in Tamworth and between South Staffordshire and the West Midlands  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.


Lighting for Staffordshire Update and Energy Framework Proposal pdf icon PDF 182 KB

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The Committee considered a report of the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport outlining:- (i) the operational performance of the long-term Lighting for Staffordshire Private Finance Initiative  contract and; (ii) the proposed procurement of a contract for the supply of electricity for road lighting, for the period 1 April 2024 to 31 March 2028 (schedule 2 to the signed minutes).


Members heard that Lighting for Staffordshire (LfS) Limited had commenced delivery of the street lighting PFI contract on 19 May 2003 for the period of 25 years. The value of the contract was £250 million for which the County Council received a Revenue Support Grant of £1.54 million per annum.


Unlike many other PFI street lighting contracts, The Staffordshire contract included a continuous programme of asset renewal in order to safeguard against the need for a large-scale renewal over a relatively short time period. This approach also enabled the network  to benefit from continuous technological improvements might occur over the duration of the contract.


Since 2003, the quantity of street lighting assets on Staffordshire Highways had risen from 99,343 to 108,224 (as of September 2023) which represented a growth of 8.9%. During this time, performance against the Asset Renewal Programme set out in the contract was as follows:-


Block Period

Target Asset Renewal No.

Actual Asset Renewal No.




















However, they heard that the agreed mechanism used to value each asset had resulted in some discrepancies arising between the Target Asset Renewal and Actual Asset Renewal figures in each of the five-year blocks shown above. Notwithstanding these discrepancies, the Cabinet Member was confident that the Programme and its approach to renewal ensured that assets with a longer than expected life cycle were not replaced earlier than was necessary and provided the most cost-effective solution.


With regard to general maintenance of street lighting assets:- (i) the number of reported faults and emergency faults had reduced by almost 50% when compared to 2003; (ii) the number of lights lit remained consistently high at over 99.3% against a performance target of 98% and (iii) a customer satisfaction rating of over 98% had been consistently achieved since completion of the first five-year Block in May 2008.


In addition, following the ‘Credit Crunch’ in 2008/09, the contract had been independently re-assessed for value for money and to ascertain if costs could be reduced. This had been undertaken by Ernst & Young who confirmed the Authority’s approach to negotiating improvements  with the contractor had been correct.  The total cumulative savings against each of the relevant headings applied from January 2013 to the end of September 2023 were as follows:-




Modernisation of Service Specification




Asset Renewal High Efficiency Lanterns

3,321,672 kWh/annum

Asset Renewal Dimming

768,115 kWh/annum

Retro Fit Dimming

3,829,314 kWh/annum


Converting the above-mentioned energy savings to a monetary value indicated savings of approximately £2.2m were achieved over the ten-year  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 236 KB

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The Chairman reported that, with advice from the Director of Economy Infrastructure and Skills, the following items had been provisionally prioritised for consideration at their March 2024 meeting:-


·       HS2 Sixth Monthly Update – Impact on and Opportunities for Staffordshire;


·       Cultural Strategy;


·       Household Waste Recycling Centres – Update.


The remaining items ie:- (i) Country Parks Strategy; (ii) Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan; (iii) Review of Job and Careers Brokerage Service Performance and; (iv) Employment and Skills Strategy – Progress Update, should be considered at an alternative future meeting to be determined.  


RESOLVED – That, subject to the above-mentioned changes, the Work Programme (schedule 3 to the signed minutes) be approved.


Date of Next Meeting - Friday 2 February 2024 at 10.00 am, County Buildings, Stafford

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RESOLVED – That the date, time and venue of the next meeting be noted.