Report of the Leader, Clean Growth and Development, attached.
The report of the Leader of the Council was submitted setting out the details of the business undertaken by the Executive.
The Leader and the Cabinet made statements and responded to questions.
The following questions were submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 11.1.
16. Itchen Bridge Fees
What is the justification for raising the fees on the Itchen Bridge?
The toll fee has not been increased since 1997. One of the key reasons for the toll (as outlined in Section 22 of the Hampshire Act 1983) is to manage congestion using this route.
The toll would not be effective at managing congestion if it was not increased in line with inflation at appropriate intervals.
We are protecting city residents from the increase in the toll by maintaining the discount that is obtained through use of the Smart Cities card.
17. Charges on Citizens and Businesses
Does the Cabinet Member not accept that the Labour group have increased and have proposed to introduce practically every charge they can on the residents and businesses of this city and it is unfair to continue in this way?
Fees and charges are kept under review. For statutory services the fees are often set and cannot be varied. However, a range of non-statutory services are provided in a competitive environment which regulates the charges as well as driving efficiencies and customer service. Non statutory services are expected to at least cover their costs.
18. Itchen Bridge – Effect of Charges
What will be the effect, of the increased charges on the Itchen Bridge, to the air quality along the existing AQMA in Bitterne Road West?
It is proposed that only non-residents will be required to pay the increase in the toll fee and they may opt to use an alternative route. However, no significant or lasting impact on vehicle numbers or air quality along Bitterne Road West is anticipated. The toll may discourage private vehicle use and encouraging the use of public transport and sustainable travel which would help to improve air quality.
Measures to reduce pollution levels in our Air Quality Management Areas and other sensitive locations have been successful in recent years and we continue to see declining levels air pollution. It is not anticipated that the proposed Itchen toll increase will have any negative impact on this.
19. Itchen Bridge – Impact of extra charges
How much longer will it take people to find the extra coin to pay your proposed Itchen Bridge toll increase and what impact will this have on bridge queues and therefore air quality in the vicinity of the Itchen Bridge?
The proposed increase in toll fees will be advertised in advance of implementation.
It is also anticipated an increase in residents up taking the Smart Cities card to obtain the discount offered thus reducing coins being needed.
The Service Manager for the Itchen Bridge does not anticipate significant additional time being taken by drivers to find the correct toll fee especially once it has been embedded and therefore no concern in relation to queues or impact on Air Quality.
A project team is currently investigating options for alternative payment methods on the Bridge.
20. Itchen Bridge – Overpayments
How many people already over pay to cross the Itchen Bridge?
The Council does not collect data on overpayments made at the Bridge.
The Council has introduced a Smart Cities Card to allow people to make the exact payment from their Itchen Bridge account. This Smart Cities card is available for both residents and non-residents to use to pay the correct amount whilst crossing the bridge.
We plan to do a take up campaign to ensure more people take up the benefit of the Smart Cities Card.
21. Itchen Bridge – Upgrading Payment System
Will the council be upgrading the payment system on the Itchen Bridge to take contactless payments?
The Council are in the process of reviewing options to modernise the available methods of payment for the Itchen Bridge. An options paper is being drafted and the introduction of contactless payments is being considered as part of this review process.
If after considering the options and we want to introduce contactless there will possibly be an administration cost to the Council.
In order to find the best solution the review will assess each option against a number of criteria including impact on traffic flow.