Notes of Public Meeting on 11th July 2017
Twenty-six members of Knighton Forum welcomed Adam Clarke, Assistant City Mayor to the Knighton Parish Centre to talk about Transport and the Environment and participate in a question and answer session.
A number of announcements were made at the start of the meeting, see attached presentation for details.
Pollution monitoring by Knighton Forum
The results of Air Quality testing carried out in Knighton were reported. The tests ran between 23rd April and 7th May. For results see the attached presentation. The readings showed that air quality on the main roads in our area is considerably poorer than in our green spaces, strengthening the case for such green spaces to be protected and more green spaces identified in future.
Guest Speaker: Transport and the Environment
Adam spoke of Leicester City Council’s record of almost 100 years delivering sustainable services to Leicester, starting in 1821 with the introduction of street lighting, through to the present day. He referred to two Council Action Plans: the Sustainability Action Plan 2016-2019 and ‘Healthier Air for Leicester’, Leicester’s Air Quality Action Plan (2015-2026).
On the subject of local bus services, Adam described 5 local issues:
- Real Time Information for buses needs improvement
- Pinch points affecting the ability of buses to meet timetables (arrive on time)
- Smart ticketing has not yet been achieved
- Currently there is no ‘bus to base’ communications
- Park and ride subsidy
These issues are raised and discussed at the Bus User Panel of users, operators and the Council. Audience members asked for information about when and where meetings are held and requested Knighton Forum’s participation in the Panel.
Of particular interest to the meeting was the deregulation of bus services in 1986 and the Council’s plans under the Bus Services Act 2017. Adam explained that under previous legislation bus operators only have to register their changes with the Traffic Commissioner. In practice they can run or stop operating routes as they please. The Traffic Commissioner regulates service based on reliability: a bus can leave up to 1 minute early and arrive up to 5 minutes late, with a punctuality target of 95%. The Council has no regulatory powers over fares, routes, punctuality or timetables.
Bus Services Act 2017. This Act received Royal Assent on 27th April. It applies to England (outside of London) and Wales. It grants local authorities in England the power to agree with bus companies, how local bus services should be organised. There are two mechanisms for achieving this. One is through an ‘Enhanced Partnership’ with current service providers. Or if a local authority is unable to agree how services should be operated, the Department for Transport may grant additional powers for a franchising arrangement. Negotiations with the bus companies will start soon in Leicester.
There followed a general discussion of the improvements that the public would like to see in Leicester. Members of the audience were invited to ask questions. At the end of the discussion, members of Knighton Forum commented positively on the degree of similarity between the concerns raised in our consultation with Knighton residents and the issues of concern for the City Councillors, as described by Adam Clarke.
The meeting closed at 9:15pm.