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SEPTEMBER 2016
From your ADEPT President

There’s a distinct air of ‘back to school’ about the place. New Ministerial teams have returned from the summer recess, and are getting to grips with their new briefs. There’s been one resignation already – Lord O’Neill from the Treasury – whilst devolution continues to dominate with the Prime Minister saying she is ‘absolutely committed’. Brexit still means Brexit, although it remains somewhat unclear as to what that means. In the meantime we are talking to various government departments and the LGA about how ADEPT could play into those discussions. I have also written to David Davis.

We provided quite a lot of media comment over the past two months (see ‘Recent media stories’ article below) and have a number of meetings with government departments in the next few weeks. Raising ADEPT’s profile, whether via meetings with civil servants or media inches, is critical to the success of the organisation.  However, I am also keen to find out what you think of our fees and services. You should have received a short survey – please do take 5 mins to complete it. It’s also available here.

Finally – the ADEPT annual conference is now less than two months away! With issues such as devolution, public finances and strategic infrastructure on the agenda, supported by a diverse and talented line up of speakers, it promises to be a thought provoking and interesting event with lots of opportunities for networking. I really hope you can make it. 

Rupert Clubb
Newsletter Contents

Please click on the relevant topic to go straight to the article.

Parliamentary Roundup
Brexit Issues
Consultation Response
Station Regeneration Workshop
ADEPT Membership Survey
Board/Working Group updates
Request for local case studies for national LGA digital connectivity campaign
ICE Transport Asset Management 2016
CPO changes in neighbourhood planning bill
Recruiting now- new board members for the Environment Agency
Lead in council playgrounds
Recent media stories
Did you know?
Upcoming ADEPT meetings
Parliamentary Roundup

The Nuclear Option
The Summer Recess has faded into distant memory and the 2016/17 parliamentary session has well and truly commenced. Following the Brexit vote and the subsequent political upheaval that’s ensued, it promises to be the most unpredictable year for many a decade. A perfect illustration of that is Hinkley Point.
 
As one of the big three infrastructure projects requiring Government attention (HS2 and Airport Expansion being the others), the debate on its merits, or otherwise, are sufficiently well-rehearsed to not require repetition here. The decision to postpone…and then proceed with it is, in itself, interesting politically. It’s a decision which understandably has considerable importance to our energy sector. Of more significance to Westminster Watchers is the meaning behind the decision making process. The “Pause and Reflect” model has been uncharitably compared in some quarters to Andrew Lansley’s approach to getting the Health & Social Care Act through the Commons. This is perhaps unfair. What it is though is unquestionably a new style of governance. One where evidence-based decisions are taken at a time and pace Number 10 determines.
 
Where did it leave us…? Well, the obvious conclusion is it represented a very public backing for the nuclear sector. However, it also shows the Government is happy to put up seriously sizeable chunks of public money for major infrastructure projects. In the context of the Chancellor implying we may see a resetting of fiscal rules, there’s much for local authorities and others to perhaps ponder as we move towards the Autumn Statement. Public submissions should be with HMT by October 7.
 
Beside The Seaside
Long gone are the times when Labour and Conservative MPs could soak up some autumn sun at one of our coastal towns whilst attending party conference. This year it’s Liverpool and Birmingham respectively that will host the Government and the Official Opposition. The Liberal Democrats and UKIP have gone for more traditional venues though and both had plenty to interest observers beyond a stroll along the promenade.
 
The UKIP Conference saw Nigel Farage formally replaced as leader by Diane James. Love him or hate him (and plenty do both), Nigel Farage has undeniably made his mark on modern British politics. He has recognition well beyond even most cabinet ministers and will be a tough act to follow for the currently less known Diane James. Where she takes the party from here will be interesting to watch.
 
As for the Liberal Democrats, Tim Farron made claim to being the longest serving leader of a major political party. I hope nobody tells Howling Laud Hope! Perhaps more noteworthy was the crux of the speech he gave. Although references were made to the Liberal Democrats being the true free market party, most observers considered it pitched squarely at disaffected Blairites and moderate Labour supporters perhaps questioning if Corbynism is the right way forward. The Liberal Democrats have enjoyed some success in recent by-elections and it will be interesting to see if this contribution can help build on that.
 
The Conservative & Labour Party Conferences will be covered next time around.

Please click here to view the Parliamentary Monitoring and here for the list of current consultations.
Brexit Issues
 
The President’s Team discussed Brexit issues at its recent meeting. Rupert Clubb has written to David Davis offering ADEPT’s services and asking to meet to discuss challenges and opportunities. What is apparent is that the general uncertainty around the model for the UK’s future relationship with the EU will continue for some time, so the full implications will only emerge slowly.
 
Thank you to those who completed the ADEPT Brexit survey in August. There was a low response rate – perhaps it was too soon after the referendum for members to have picked up any clear news about the impact of Brexit, or just an unfortunate clash with the holiday season.
 
To help inform our engagement with Government and others, please can all boards and working groups feedback any intelligence and observations so that we can begin to collate the overall picture. ADEPT Policy Officer David Dale (
david.dale@gloucestershire.gov.uk) will contact all chairs to suggest a common framework for these discussions and feedback
Consultation Responses

Self-sufficient local government: 100% Business Rate Retention consultation 
ADEPT has submitted a response to this DCLG consultation. Besides responding to specific questions, we set out some points of principle. The first relates to Transfers of Responsibilities, where we made clear that any future transfer of responsibilities needs to be sustainable in the longer term, un-ring-fenced and fully funded to allow local authorities to carry out their statutory duties. The other issue was Non-Combined Authority Areas, where we cannot see the justification for non-Combined Authority Areas not having the same controls over the multiplier as Combined Authority areas. To see the full response, click here.
 
Shale Wealth Fund
The Government intends to create a Shale Wealth Fund, using up to 10% of future tax revenues arising from shale gas production, to help ensure that households, communities and regions affected by the developments have a share in the benefits created. This will be in addition to the payments that the ‘fracking’ industry has said that it will make to communities where developments take place. The Government (HM Treasury) is now consulting in order to seek views on the delivery method and priorities of the Shale Wealth Fund (see https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/shale-wealth-fund).
 
ADEPT supports the general principle that people living in places where energy and infrastructure developments take place should be helped to meet the costs arising, and to share in the future benefits. We believe that the Shale Wealth Fund should be managed by democratically accountable local authorities. We will be responding to the consultation. If you want to raise issues for inclusion in our response please send your comments to Nigel Riglar nigel.riglar@gloucestershire.gov.uk by 15th October 2016.
STATION REGENERATION WORKSHOP

Station regeneration is key to new opportunities for growth, says ADEPT and Campaign for Better Transport

Regenerating stations can provide a wealth of social and economic benefits beyond immediate refurbishment. That is the key finding of a focus session hosted by ADEPT and the Campaign for Better Transport in London in July.

The Campaign for Better Transport alongside ADEPT members, expert consultants and business groups from across the country met with civil servants from DBEIS, DfT, the HCA and DCLG. Discussion focussed on how the redevelopment of rail stations can act as a catalyst for growth and investment. 
 
To read the full press release please click
here. The write up of the workshop can be found here.

ADEPT Membership Survey
 
The President’s Team is canvassing members for their opinion of ADEPT membership fees and services. We are keen to find out what you think, whether you consider the fee is value for money and what you would like to see more of / done differently. We are also reviewing our fees against those of similar organisations. 

For your chance to have your say please fill out the questionnaire here and return it to Laura Newcombe (laura.newcombe@devon.gov.uk). The deadline is Friday 14th October 2016.
Board & Working Group updates

Waste Panel meeting– 8 September
In addition to the usual attendees, we were delighted to be joined by Jessica Lewis representing the London Environment Directors Network (LEDNet) plus as well as Dr Richard Beaven and Professor Keith Knox from the University of Southampton.  Thanks to the vagaries of Southern Rail we were unable to be joined by ADEPT President Rupert Clubb, but we look forward to meeting him another time.

The substantive part of the meeting was a presentation and facilitated discussion from Dr Beaven and Prof. Knox regarding closed landfill sites and their potential long term liabilities for operators, government and society.  The Panel were informed about emerging new technologies which can significantly reduce the time landfill sites are a potential risk, and were invited to consider how to help support the proposals further, especially with supply of data.  The discussion was stimulating and highlighted the potential paradox between long term risks and liabilities  of former landfill with the more immediate financial pressures on local authorities. Copies of the slides from the presentation are available on request.

The Panel received feedback on recent work with WRAP and other stakeholders regarding harmonisation of waste collections, resulting in the publication of guidance to local authorities on ‘A Framework for Greater Consistency in Household Recycling’. ADEPT is pleased to have had the chance to influence this important publication and look forward to working with industry and government to help deliver its objectives.

Discussion around updates from stakeholders identified common themes and concerns around Brexit, and a desire to better articulate the ADEPT vision and aspirations for waste management.  This will be a key agenda item for the next meeting in December ahead of a workshop with the Environment Board in January. By Ian Fielding, Deputy Chair.

Traffic & Safety Group
The newly re-established group, chaired by Paul Copeland of East Riding, considered the impact of several months of the new Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions. The hope is that revisions to the Traffic Signs Manual will follow soon. Feedback on the recent speed conference in Sweden was presented; future work on autonomous vehicles and the DfT 20mph will be discussed soon. Recent injury collision data collection issues will be raised with the Home Office and DfT in partnership with PACTS and Road Safety GB (letter attached here). 

South West Sub National Board
The next meeting on 3 November will have a highways and transport theme. There will be various contributions from councils and partners to aid our understanding of how well the region as a whole is best using strategic transport investment to support economic growth.

Resilience working group
The next meeting of the Environment Board on 12 October will consider how best to reflect climate change resilience within the work of ADEPT.
 
The original intention was to have a Resilience / Adaptation Working Group reporting to the Board. However, this would cover much of the scope of the Local Adaptation Advisory Panel for England (described in the July ‘16 newsletter). Although the LAAP is a DEFRA construct and is wider than ADEPT members, it is chaired by an ADEPT member – Nigel Riglar – and it seems sensible to ask him to act as the link between the two and to lead on resilience and adaptation on the Environment Board.
 
At its October meeting the Board will have a workshop session covering:
  • an update on the recently published Climate Change Risk Assessment
  • LAAP briefing, and timeline for National Adaptation Programme development
  • reflections on LAAP workshop around infrastructure
  • a practical example, based on South West highways.
Nigel will then contact ADEPT Board Chairs to ask them to identify resilience issues and priorities in their remit. This will help to develop a comprehensive position statement.

The National Street Lighting Group (LG) – 22 September
Discussions included the President’s recent communication over meeting attendance by non-member authorities and the potential implications for the structure of the LG and co-opted members.  LG members were encouraged to follow up with their employers. 

A key agenda item was the current business plan and linkages to the Engineering Board. Following discussions they added BREXIT implications, Smart Cities and Competency in lighting practitioners to the plan.
 
Under H&S the matter of the structural failure of a number of Philips Luma lanterns was discussed, in particular the limited information provided by the manufacturer and potential implications on public safety. The group discussed the publication of the revised CoP and the live nature of the new document, which in its last viewed form still had weaknesses.  Revisions would be a rolling item on future LG agendas. Electrical Vehicle Charging Points and the potential use of lighting columns for trickle charging was covered. Some guidance has been posted on the LG pages of the ADEPT website and more will follow. LoLEG is working with the IET to produce further guidance and energy settlement arrangements are to be discussed at UMSUG where the LG will represent customers.  Discussions on the profiling of light levels on traffic routes followed. The sharing of practices to move toward common standards was agreed.

Members noted that with the spread of LED lighting some older technology was becoming expensive to maintain as components go out of production. The implications for some authorities especially parish councils could be unexpected and dramatic if they are unprepared. An advice note to be prepared for circulation. Finally, the implications of TSRGD 2016 on sign lighting were discussed. Particularly the flexibility that the document delivers in how signs are illuminated. A guidance note to be prepared for circulation.
REQUEST FOR LOCAL CASE STUDIES FOR NATIONAL LGA DIGITAL CONNECTIVITY CAMPAIGN
 
The LGA launched its Up to Speed campaign in May as a platform to showcase the work councils are undertaking to connect hard to reach premises, and to lobby Government to enact a broadband Universal Service Obligation to provide a safety net to those who might not be reached. The campaign provides councillors, council officers and members of the public with a set of resources, including a speed test app, case studies and a toolkit to help them become more informed about how they can improve their speeds, and showcases innovative examples of local projects working hard to improve local digital connectivity.

We are currently asking our members to highlight any local projects related to improving digital connectivity which they would wish to showcase as part of our national campaign. Please come forward with initial interest by contacting lucy.lee@local.gov.uk for a further conversation.
 
ICE TRANSPORT ASSET MANAGEMENT 2016

Sharing Best Practice for a Sustainable Future
28 October 2016, Westminster
 
ADEPT is pleased to support fourth ICE Transport Asset Management conference, which will take place on 28 October at the Institution of Civil Engineers in London.

Key sessions cover:
  • Update on the UK Roads Liaison Group’s guidance on lighting, structures and highway maintenance for local highway authorities
  • Mobile mapping technologies for highways asset management and moving from band 2 to band 3 of the Highways incentive fund
  • From and function of railway asset management  - strategy, policy, outputs and outcomes
Discounts available for ADEPT member and local authorities.

To find out more and to secure your place, visit ice-tam.com
 
CPO CHANGES IN NEIGHBOURHOOD PLANNING BILL

Please click here to read the letter from DCLG on the CPO changes in Neighbourhood Planning Bill. 

This letter contains important information for investors in land which may be suitable for regeneration or redevelopment in the vicinity of new transport infrastructure. Please bring the contents of this letter to the attention of any of your clients or members that may be affected. 
RECRUITING NOW - NEW BOARD MEMBERS FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY
 
The Environment Agency is looking for three candidates with experience of one or more of the following:
  • engineering and infrastructure;
  • financial, investment or risk;
  • local leadership.
The advert is now live (see here)Please click here to find out more about becoming a member of the Environment Agency Non-Executive Board. The closing date for applications is 12pm Monday 24th October.
 
LEAD IN COUNCIL PLAYGROUNDS
 
The BBC One Show on Monday 26th September filmed a children’s playground in Bristol where lead paint had been found on play equipment. The council confirmed to the show that the equipment was over 20 years old and was due to be replaced.  The film package also suggested that further tests around the country had found traces of lead paint in newer equipment. However, the point was made that councils adhere to strict procurement and safety guidelines.  The One Show item can be found here:
 

http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwjFgOHG3rHPAhUFPxoKHWqTCK0QFggoMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.bbc.co.uk%2Fprogrammes%2Fp0493q34&usg=AFQjCNH8jZpC84XJWrTTqDsixwHhUoGHFA&sig2=96Tnyb3MFEEhrGOzztDzpQ&bvm=bv.134052249,d.d2s
 
The Local Government Association is keen to find out if any councils are experiencing any problems with newer equipment being purchased to better understand the scale of the issue, if it exists.
 
Please contact Eamon Lally, Principal Policy Adviser, 
Eamon.lally@local.gov.uk
RECENT MEDIA STORIES

18th July- Stop Side-stepping the issue- Environment Journal
21st July- Local councils go radical on maintenance to combat shrinking budgets- Construction News
9th August- The Big Interview: ADEPT president talks fracking, engaging and speaking up- Surveyor
10th August- ADEPT launches corporate membership scheme- Surveyor
19th August- Colas joins ADEPT’s corporate scheme- Transport Xtra
 
To read these stories in full please find the links in the Communications report here
 
Did you know?
 
  • Since April nine new local authorities, and two LEPs, have joined ADEPT. The 2016/17 target is 15 new LA members and 5 new LEP members. Since July, we’ve also recruited seven corporate partners (target of 16).
  • To see the membership list, see here.
  • Please help to recruit more members! Paperwork is available on the website (www.adeptnet.org.uk/membership). 
Upcoming ADEPT Meetings
  • Engineering Board meeting – 6/7 October, Liverpool
  • Environment Board meeting - 12 October, London
  • President’s Team meeting – 20 October, London
  • Planning, Housing & Environment Board meeting - 21 October, London
The ADEPT website now had an Events Calendar – this lists all forthcoming Board and Working Group meetings. To get an event listed, please contact secretariat@adeptnet.org.uk
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