Get Involved – Ask Bromley Council’s next Environment Committee meeting about their Living Streets priorities…

Why?

Asking public questions can help to highlight to councillors any local environmental issues that matter most to you or help pinpoint problems you’d like them to tackle. It’s a fairly quick and efficient way of receiving an answer from the Portfolio Holder, the councillor responsible for the Environment Portfolio.

Next Meeting: 18:30 9th June 2021

General questions

If you have questions on walking, active travel or a highways issue in your area, you can submit a maximum of two questions to the quarterly Bromley Council Environment PDS committee.  

Written questions, no longer than 50 words long, should be submitted by email 10 working days or more before the date of the next Environment committee to: committee.services@bromley.gov.uk.  

Agenda questions

The agenda for committee meetings is published on the Council website 7 days before the meeting date. Residents may ask a maximum of two written questions on an agenda item if it’s submitted within 2 working days of the publication of the agenda.

Here’s a link to the Environment committee dates. Click on a date to see the agenda:

https://cds.bromley.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CId=127&Year=0

Here’s information from the Bromley Council website on how to ask a question:

https://cds.bromley.gov.uk/mggeneric.aspx?md=Questiontime&bcr=1

Replies

The reply to your question will be emailed to you after the meeting by Democratic Services and both question and answer will appear in the published minutes of the meeting.

Previous questions

Here’s a list of questions which were recently asked and the replies

ECS PDS—11th March—Questions for Written Response

  1. Question from Maureen McCann:

My young neighbour wrote about the future of our open spaces in Bromley for his young reporter scheme. Since lockdown, these areas have become even more important for families. However, Elmstead/Marvels Wood looks neglected and ruined by ASB. What is Bromley doing to protect these woods for our future generation?

Answer to Question 1

A) The Council and Police are working together to develop an action plan of joint site patrols involving the Councils Parks Security contractor / Ward Security and the police 

B) Council officers , The police and the Council’s Parks contractors will undertake site visits to identify and assess official key pedestrian and vehicle access points into the park  to determine what action / physical improvements are required  prevent the illegal access by these motorbikes while still maintaining access for pedestrians, those in wheel chairs and people with buggies.   

C) The site visit will also look to identify illegal motorbike access points with a view to blocking them with   appropriate infrastructure.  

D) We strive to maintain the paths and fauna in Elmstead Woods in a good condition as far as reasonably possible. the budget however will be stretched to repair additional damage so it may take some time to achieve those repairs. If we are successful in catching any of the culprits we will seek to impose fines which we can then use to help with repairs.

2) Question from Ryan Finn:

High powered off-road motorbikes are regularly using Elmstead and Marvels Woods as their private dirt track. Reaching high speeds in concise space, they pose a significant danger to the numerous members of the public, many of them with small children and dogs, that enjoy these woods. Please can you tell me how the Council intends to eradicate this problem?”

Answer to Question 2:

A) The Council and Police are working together to develop an action plan of joint site patrols involving the Councils Parks Security contractor / Ward Security and the police 

B) Council officers , The police and the Council’s Parks contractors will undertake site visits to identify and assess official key pedestrian and vehicle access points into the park  to determine what action / physical improvements are required  prevent the illegal access by these motorbikes while still maintaining access for pedestrians, those in wheel chairs and people with buggies.   

C) The site visit will also look to identify illegal motorbike access points with a view to blocking them with   appropriate infrastructure.  

D) We strive to maintain the paths and fauna in Elmstead Woods in a good condition as far as reasonably possible. the budget however will be stretched to repair additional damage so it may take some time to achieve those repairs. If we are successful in catching any of the culprits we will seek to impose fines which we can then use to help with repairs.

3) Question from Mandy James:

UK government announced 50% of all urban journeys are to be walked or cycled by 2030. Will LBB acknowledge training on road and cycle safety isn’t enough to meet this and advise of the actions LBB will take to build sufficient infrastructure to enable this level of active travel?

Answer to Question 3:

The 50% target for active travel for urban journeys is of course an average and the fringes of the urban area, such as Bromley will obviously have a lower proportion than Central London. Much of the borough is suburban and rural. Walking, particularly walking to public transport has provided the majority of active travel journeys in the borough and is likely to continue to do so. We therefore support both walking and cycling, plus in the case of some school journey push scooters.

Turning to cycling, our cycle training, outside of the current pandemic, has been able to meet the demand, in addition the Council continues to install improved facilities for both cycling and cycle parking. That includes new facilities recently or currently being installed in Orpington, Beckenham and Crystal Palace and we have also facilitated over 600 cycle parking spaces at destinations in recent years. New developments in addition have a requirement in the planning process to provide cycle parking and those numbers would be in addition to the above.

In terms of future facilities the aspiration is to provide residents with a genuine choice of travel modes as to how they travel within our borough. Understanding the demand is key to ensure that future spend is justified and part of that may require us to understand the extent of a new normal.

4) Question from Mandy James:

Road congestion is an ongoing problem within the Waldo and Tylney Road area of Bromley. With so many idling cars in close proximity to four schools, will LBB please confirm what action is being taken to reduce traffic and pollution in this area?

Answer to Question 4:

I am sorry you have been inconvenienced in recent weeks by congestion due to the higher volumes of customers visiting Waldo Road re-use and recycling centre. Trips to council amenity sites have remained an essential activity during lock down, and it appears a high volume of customers have taken the opportunity of staycations to spring clean. We continue to promote our Green Garden Waste Collection subscription service to reduce the number of journeys, and in the last year we have seen approximately a 20% increase in take-up. We also introduced a new online application system for Green Garden Waste sticker purchases, since with the libraries closed the previous method purchase method was unavailable to residents.

As the weather continues to improve and in anticipation of garden spring cleans, we are starting our weekend operations at our green garden waste satellite sites in Norman Park, Shire Lane, Unicorn Primary and Charles Darwin schools, and these will now begin a week earlier this year on the 27th and 28th March. 

We launched our anti-idling education programme outside schools just before the pandemic closed most schools. This is an area we will return to as schools reopen.

5) Question from Carolyn Heitmeyer:

Following consultation and with approval from the Greater London Authority, Bromley Council has published its Air Quality Action Plan. This document mentions delivery of ‘Shortlands Friendly Village Scheme’ as an output. Can the Portfolio Holder provide an update on the delivery of this scheme, and whether it includes Westgate Road traffic lights?

Answer to Question 5:

There are two separate reports being presented to this PDS committee this evening, the first of which provides a full update on progress with the Shortlands Friendly Village Scheme and the other will consider whether traffic lights should be installed on Westgate Road bridge.

6) Question from Carolyn Heitmeyer:

Can Bromley Council undertake and share a cost-benefit analysis regarding giving residents boxes with hinged lids for paper recycling, i.e. similar to the wheelie bins currently provided for non-recyclable waste in Bromley, or the paper recycling wheelie bins provided to residents in Lambeth?

Answer to Question 6:

For clarity, Bromley Council does not provide containers for non-recyclable refuse as the service that we operate is a sack collection. Residents can therefore choose how they want to present their waste and purchase their own container for storage in between collections. 

The indicative cost of purchasing and delivering a 180 litre wheeled bin for paper and card to all households is £2.4 million based on 2019/20 tonnage data, and 2020/21 costs. Considering the financial aspects of wet paper instead being directed for energy recovery, there does not appear to be a sufficient benefit to justify this outlay at the current time. We also note these wheelie bins would be plastic.

Bromley is a high performing borough for recycling, achieving a recycling rate of 50.9% in 2019/20, which compares to Lambeth’s recycling rate of was 31.7%.  The configuration of our recycling and waste services including the container type is one of the reasons Bromley continues to perform at this high level. A regular reader of our environment press releases will see that we continue to introduce new measures with the aim of enhancing our recycling rate.

7) Question from James Rowe

The need for the UK to adopt much more active travel has recently been restated, and indeed increased, with the statement from Grant Schapps. To that end, will the Council commit to publishing annual success measures that track the necessary increase in levels of school children using active travel?

Answer to Question 7:

The best measure of success is the number of children in the Borough travelling to school by foot, bike, or scooter. This is a key performance indicator regularly reported to this committee. Unfortunately, as schools were closed for much of the last year, the data we now have is quite out of date. However, The Council’s School Travel Advisers continue to liaise with schools to help the schools deliver their travel plan activities and to ensure that Bromley continues to have among the highest number of Gold accredited plans in London. Also, various new infrastructure has been introduced this year in support of active travel to schools.

8) Question from James Rowe:

The DfT’s School Travel Guidance gives local authorities responsibility to promote sustainable travel to schools. Specifically this should include :

1) an audit of sustainable travel infrastructure, and 2) annual publication of its sustainable school travel strategy each August.

When and where are these published?

Answer to Question 8:

Bromley has recently had more Gold accredited school travel plans than any other London borough. Bromley has, for many years, invested in effective school travel plans, updated as necessary, putting forward a package of measures to improve safety and increase active travel, backed by a partnership involving the school, education, health and transport officers from the local authority, and other stakeholders. These seek to secure benefits for both the school and the children by improving their health through active travel and reducing congestion caused by school runs, which in turn helps improve local air quality. Each travel plan provides a regular audit of the sustainable travel infrastructure required to support that school.

9) Question from Amanda McCann:

My question is why have you allowed the residents whose houses back onto the cow path off of Elmstead Lane to cut down trees and bushes in order to install gates and pathways to their properties. It has completely destroyed what was once a pleasant rural pathway.

Answer to Question 9:

The Council has not given consent for residents of Elmstead Lane to cut down trees and bushes to facilitate the installation of gates and pathways to their properties. Thank you for notifying us of this issue which is being investigated.

10) Question from Rajeev Thacker:

Action 22 of the Air Quality Action Plan states that the Council aims to “continue with Play Street events.” Can you please a) give the names of the streets where the events have taken place and b) the number of and dates of the events that have taken place.

Answer to Question 10:

Bromley doesn’t have any Play Streets as such but prefers to allow residents to book one-off organised Street Parties. To better reflect this in the AQAP and avoid any misinterpretation “Play Street Events”, has been amended to “Street Party Events”. This will make no difference to the activities already undertaken, as part of the target 22 concerning “Temporary Car Free Days”. This small change to the wording of the target will be reflected in the AQAP’s first annual status report, scheduled for release in April 2022. Mindful of the Government’s easing of lockdown guidance schedule we are considering the possibilities for 2021.

In 2019 Bromley received 50 applications for Street Parties, followed by 71 applications in 2020. A list of these streets will be sent to Mr Thacker by officers.

11) Question from Rajeev Thacker:

The same action point refers to the Council engaging “with residents in discussions about possible changes in the locality that would enhance walking and cycling.” Please give details of the process that residents should follow in order that they can engage with the Council to discuss such potential changes.

Answer to Question 11:

The Council encourages residents to give their views on cycling and walking schemes through consultation events and communications in respect to larger proposals, but also responds to hundreds of approaches from residents via the Council’s online forms each year. Please use https://www.bromley.gov.uk/trafficmanagementcontactform

12) Question from Robbie Vincent:

Sophisticated monitors show human made Air Pollution in Bromley exceeds WHO safe limits. On occasion by more than 5 times. Health Charities and other Boroughs issued notification of dangers attached to all types of Wood Burning. Bromley shows 24 related deaths in 2021. Bromley’s plan of action please?

Answer to Question 12:

Bromley’s plan of action is provided in the Air Quality Action Plan and the associated matrix which can be accessed here https://www.bromley.gov.uk/downloads/download/246/air_quality_action_plan

13) Question from Laura Vogel:

Bromley Council has an outstanding record of achievement regarding the STARS program. Does the Portfolio Holder agree there is merit in the Council counting and reporting the number of children in the borough travelling to school by foot, bike, or scooter as a key performance indicator?

Answer to Question 13:

This information is already recorded and is a key performance indicator regularly reported to this committee. Unfortunately, as schools were closed for much of the last year, the data we now have is quite out of date. However, The Council’s School Travel Advisers continue to liaise with schools to help the schools deliver their travel plan activities and to ensure that Bromley continues to have among the highest number of Gold accredited plans in London. Also, various new infrastructure has been introduced this year in support of active travel to schools.

14) Question from Laura Vogel:

Many were pleased to see the addition of the planters on Bromley High Street, could the Portfolio Holder confirm if the funds for the planters came from the Covid Infrastructure Grants and if so, explain how the placing of the High Street planters enhances residents’ ability to “active travel” and social distance?

Answer to Question 14:

Grant funding for the planters and other social distancing barriers and signage in town centres across the Borough was awarded by the MHCLG under the banner “Reopening High Streets Safely”.  Planters were also installed to allow space for increased outdoor dining to support food and beverage businesses required to reduce the number seats inside their premises. Social distancing measures in town centres are therefore primarily to allow high streets to reopen safely, giving customers confidence that they can return high streets without significant risk in respect to Covid 19. Other funding, received via TfL from the DfT, was used to introduce social distancing and active travel facilities around schools and along some transport corridors, with the introduction of new segregated cycle routes and zebra crossings, amongst other measures.

15) Question from Alisa Igoe:

Environment and Community Services: Portfolio Plan for 2021/22

Priority 6, page 442

Overarching Portfolio Themes:

Our Ambitions: Strategic links: The priority aligns to the following Building a Better Bromley ambitions: ● For Bromley to have a safe, clean and green environment great for today and the future. “The purpose of the ASR is to shift the focus towards what is being done to improve air quality locally and therefore, provides an update on monitoring undertaken and progress towards the various actions set out in our action plan.”

Question:

The Air Quality Action Plan is shown for September 2021. The Annual Status Report (ASR) is required to be provided by Councils. What changes have now been implemented to improve air quality in Bromley as a result of the completed AQAP consultation and what is planned between now and September 2021?

Answer to Question 15:

The finalised Air Quality Action Plan runs from 2020 to 2025. Changes implemented so far will be recorded in the April 2021 annual status report, where data is available for the previous year. 

To see what is planned between now and September 2021, please access the Air Quality Action Plan here https://www.bromley.gov.uk/downloads/download/246/air_quality_action_plan 

16) Question from Alisa Igoe:

It’s excellent Bromley acted swiftly to impose a TPO on trees alongside No 1 Broadheath Drive on Elmstead Lane. Would the Council consider tightening its published policy on felling/work on trees that are outside Conservation areas and/or not subject to permanent TPOs, to insist all tree felling must be approved by the Council?

Answer to Question 16:

When a threat is identified to a tree which sits outside a conservation area the Council can manage this through the imposition of a TPO. It is not practical given the limited resource available or enforceable under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for the Council to create its own requirement for all felling of private trees to be approved by the Council.  

Further queries on TPOs may be better directed to the Chairman of the Development Control Committee.

17) Question from James Hamilton:

ECS PORTFOLIO PERFORMANCE MONITORING (2020/21)

Household Waste Recycled or Composted:

Agenda Item 10b

ECS4

Question:

10b ECS4 states: “There was particularly high precipitation in January 2021, which meant the majority of paper collected for recycling had to be disposed and this had an impact to the recycling rate for January of 9%”. What is the estimated total of loss of income and disposal costs of this contaminated wet paper?

Answer to Question 17:

The estimated total loss of income and additional cost associated with sending paper for energy recovery instead of recycling in January 2021 was £170k. 

The amount of paper and card recycling that was not recycled in January 2021 was significantly higher than we have experienced before. The reason for this was the number of days and amount of precipitation in January 2021 was particularly high. To compare, the total cost of loss in income and sending paper to energy recovery for the entire annual period of 2019/20 was £230k with this matter discussed at Environment PDS Committee previously and information on the Council’s website.

18) Question from James Hamilton:

Could you please state the total tonnage of paper and card collected for recycling in January and what percentage of that could not be recycled and had to be disposed of?

Answer to Question 18:

The total tonnage of paper and card collected for recycling in January 2021 was 1,097 tonnes and 85% was sent to energy recovery. The impact of the paper and card not recycled in January 2021, on our total recycling rate in 2020/21 to date is 1%.  

This is highly unusual and in contrast, during the period April to December 2020, 92% of the total paper and card collected for recycling was recycled. 

Bromley continues to have one of the highest recycling rates in London, with 50.9% in 2019/20. Whilst we strive to recycle as much as possible, it is not unusual for there to be a proportion of the recycling that we collect to not be recycled due to contamination. In 2019, the average contamination rate in England was 16.6%. 

Bromley prides itself on being open and honest with residents about what happens to its recycling, which is why we have let residents know that there is currently an issue with wet paper and have been encouraging residents to work with us to keep it as dry as possible.

19) Question from Chloe Jane Ross:

Why does TfL not recommend the mini roundabout at Scotts Lane /Bromley Rd and would the Council proceed contrary to TfL’s recommendation?

Answer to Question 19:

TfL have not been asked whether they recommend a mini-roundabout or other measure at this collision cluster site. The roads are Bromley’s not TfL roads. It is for Bromley and its consultants to design a solution.

20) Question from Chloe Jane Ross:

Are there any potential safety concerns in regard to the pedestrian crossing proposed next to the Scotts Lane /Bromley Rd mini-roundabout?

Answer to Question 20:

All new schemes such as this are subject to a two-stage road safety audit process prior to being installed to ensure that any design concerns are addressed.

21) Question from Kerry Nash-Clarke:

It’s great the Shortlands Friendly Village scheme is being considered again, but why are segregated cycle lanes being cut out? A YouGov survey last year found 71% of surveyed parents identified building more segregated cycle lanes as the number one intervention that would help them, and their children, cycle more.

Answer to Question 21:

Segregated cycle lanes have already been installed as part of the Shortlands Friendly Village scheme and others may follow. One route originally proposed for a segregated cycle route may not be suitable due to the number of mature street trees that would need to be felled in order to implement the route. We will be monitoring the usage of the new facilities we have provided to ensure that future spend is most efficiently targeted.

22) Question from Kerry Nash-Clarke:

Please can Bromley Council consult residents on options for improving the junction of Station Road and Beckenham Lane, as part of the Shortlands Friendly Village scheme, and please can this consultation provide residents with information on the pros and cons of the different options being considered?

Answer to Question 22:

The Council will most certainly consult residents when we have firm proposals for improving the junction of Station Road and Beckenham Lane, as part of the Shortlands Friendly Village scheme. As you will see in the report to this committee regarding the Shortlands Friendly Village scheme, modelling still needs to be undertaken before any proposals can be firmed up.

23) Question from Valerie Gaisford St Lawrence:

Elmstead/Marvels Wood continues to be destroyed by off-road motorbikes especially at weekends. It is causing considerable public nuisance to users/residents plus ruining footpaths and plants. Despite the Council and police being fully aware, the issue is on-going.

What measures will Bromley be undertaking to resolve this and preserve the woods?

Answer to Question 23:

A) The Council and Police are working together to develop an action plan of joint site patrols involving the Councils Parks Security contractor / Ward Security and the police 

B) Council officers , The police and the Council’s Parks contractors will undertake site visits to identify and assess official key pedestrian and vehicle access points into the park  to determine what action / physical improvements are required  prevent the illegal access by these motorbikes while still maintaining access for pedestrians, those in wheel chairs and people with buggies.   

C) The site visit will also look to identify illegal motorbike access points with a view to blocking them with   appropriate infrastructure.  

D) We strive to maintain the paths and fauna in Elmstead Woods in a good condition as far as reasonably possible. the budget however will be stretched to repair additional damage so it may take some time to achieve those repairs. If we are successful in catching any of the culprits we will seek to impose fines which we can then use to help with repairs.