Plenary meeting 4 May 2018

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Notes of Plenary Meeting
Friday 4 May 2018
Transport House
18 Smith Square
10.30 – 12.30

1. Apologies – see appendix 1

2. Presentations & Discussion

Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline process and Market Led Proposals Guidance
Saskia Matthews & Laurence Holding, Department for Transport

The Department for Transport has published papers on how rail enhancement projects will be chosen in future, including a new framework for market led proposals. The Government seeks private sector funding to invest in rail infrastructure without Government support.
Ref: Market led proposals: call for ideas
Market led proposals: guidance

The Rail Network Enhancement Pipeline will replace the current system of agreeing 5-year enhancement programmes as part of Network Rail’s regulatory control periods. There is to be a rolling programme of investment with 5 stages of activity – determine, develop, design, deliver and deploy – with a formal investment decision gateway at each stage to decide whether to proceed.
Ref: Rail network pipeline – a new approach for rail enhancements

3. Notes of the Plenary meeting 23 March 2018 and matters arising – approved

4. Financial report
a. Expenditure against Budget 2018-19 – noted
b. Balance – £20,452.49

5. Consultations
a. Transport for the North Long Term Rail Strategy – no response submitted
b. Consultation on the use of Section 19 & 22 Permits for road passenger transport in Great Britain – Consortium & LGA responses

It was suggested that the LGA be approached to provide a legal opinion to assist local authorities in identifying the role that community transport can undertake under the new interpretation of the regulations. It will be important to identify, within the revised interpretation, how community transport schemes can operate. There was much concern over the impact this can have on local authorities.

6. Issues to Discuss from Newsletters
Changes to the Public Service Vehicles (Conduct of Drivers, Inspectors, Conductors and Passengers) Regulations 1990 (the Conduct Regulations) enabling drivers to remove passengers from the bus who unreasonably refuse to move when requested from a wheelchair space were discussed. Concern was raised at the position in which this places the driver. The plan to raise the profile of interurban bus services suggested by Greengauge 21 was highlighted. A discussion took place on supported bus services in Wales and free travel on the TrawsCymru network. The southern link to Heathrow airport could be the first market led proposal. The responsibility on local authorities to resolve air quality issues was noted with concern. Mobility as a Service being introduced in the West Midlands could be a presentation for a future meeting. Transport for the North has become England’s first statutory transport body. Local authorities are now attending meeting and are supportive of the concept and an evidence base is required in order to deliver the projects identified. Changes to the bus service registration process with immediate effect were noted and concerns raised at the additional workload upon local authorities. It was outlined that full consultation refers to the local authority acknowledging notification of the proposals, by the operator. The operators shortlisted for the West Coast Rail partnership were noted.
Members commented on the value of the news updates.

7. LGA Update – none provided

8. Future Programme & Dates for 2018
a. Friday 29 June: regional meeting hosted by Durham Council – an email reminder would be sent out to members.
b. Friday 21 September: Transport House
c. Friday 16 November, AGM: Transport House

9. Any other business
It was suggested that it would be useful to invite a member of the Department for Transport with responsibility for rail strategy to a future meeting.
Concerns were raised at overcrowding on some trains due to staffing resulting in parts of the trains being out of use.

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