Members of the public who have requested the opportunity to ask question(s) on any item(s) on the agenda will have three minutes to put their question(s) to the relevant Councillor. Members of the public will be allowed to ask one short supplementary question.
A question was received from Andy Hunter-Rossall, who attended the meeting virtually, and asked the question of the Executive Leader, Councillor Alistair Bradley.
Question one “The government have provided £2 billion of support for bus services across the country during the Pandemic to ensure services remained viable despite passenger numbers being down by as much as 80% at times. This support is due to come to an end in October. Are the Council aware of any bus services that may be threatened by the withdrawal of government support?”
Councillor Bradley responded and noted that Lancashire County Council (LCC) were the transport authority, but he was not aware of any bus services under threat. This was a question for LCC perhaps? However, Chorley Council had invested over £700,000 in bus services within Chorley since 2016. Councillor Bradley noted his hopes for a joined-up transport policy for Lancashire moving forwards.
Question two “Young people are required to stay in education or training until the age of 18, but the vast majority have to travel outside of Chorley for this provision. The cost of a bus pass to Runshaw College is £475, and to Cardinal Newman College is £409 per year. This is a cost of education which doesn't apply to young people living in towns and cities with colleges, and as the cost of living crisis bites, now is an ideal time to consider subsidising this bus travel, following in the footsteps of Scotland, where bus travel is free for under 21s. This takes cars off the road as more students choose to use the bus over other forms of transport, and puts cash back in the pockets of families. Free bus travel also allows more young people to access Chorley's centralised youth services at Inspire Youth Zone. Will the Council consider the feasibility of a free bus pass for young people?”
Councillor Bradley noted that college transport was a matter for colleges and central government. Colleges determine how the funding is distributed and suggested that the question be directed to LCC or Westminster? Chorley Council had worked with the Youth Zone and Stagecoach to implement a £1 fare and have worked with the Youth Zone on other potential transport and service delivery solutions.
Question three “I was very disappointed watching the Council's Licensing and Public Safety Committee meeting on 6th July, that an amendment to make one of Chorley's 36 Hackney Licences have a condition requiring an electric vehicle was rejected. The committee discussed the cost of purchase of an EV, but ignored the reduced running costs, maintenance costs and tax costs, ie the Total Cost of Ownership. The Council also failed to note the impact on air pollution of introducing clean vehicles to Chorley's town centre. The committee considered that the condition would be "unfair" as it applies to only one license, but given that license rights are "grandfathered", this will be true whenever a new conditions are introduced. Given that the licenses come up so rarely, it is likely that this license may still be in use in 2030, when the Council is hoping that the borough will be zero carbon. We need to make changes now, if we want to have such a massive impact by 2030. Will the Council review this decision, and will the Council consider the conditions required for Hackney Carriages and Private Hire cabs in order for all of this sector to reach net zero in Chorley by 2030?”
Councillor Bradley explained that there was a significant issue to be considered in terms of hackney carriages and private hire vehicles, across a wider geographical area. The Council were lobbying the government on this issue for the whole fleet. Electric vehicles cost more to purchase and require infrastructure – a wider solution was required than to enforce this on one operator.
Councillor Bradley undertook to come back to Mr Hunter-Rossall regarding the air quality figures quoted as clarification was required regarding the topography of the M61 motorway.