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The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 15 June, 2015

Report of the Cabinet Member for Regeneration

Bus Services Support Grant 2015 / 2016

Purpose of the Report

1.    To confirm acceptance of the 2015/16 Bus Services Support Grant (BSSG) and to outline, for information purposes, how the BSSG will be used.

Recommendations

1.    That Cabinet agrees acceptance of £ 366,347 for the Bus Services Support Grant (BSSG) for 2015/2016.

 

2.    That Cabinet approves the proposed use of the BSSG revenue funding as outlined in Appendix B.

 

3.    That the use of article 13.09 of the Council’s constitution (urgent decision procedure) be authorised to enable the Council to approve the grant by 30 June, 2015.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.    To ensure formal acceptance of the grant which will assist in providing continued local bus service and community transport provision.

 

2.    To permit the grant to be used as proposed.

 

3.    To agree the grant in a timely manner.

Background

2.    Introduced originally in 1998/99, the Bus Services Support Grant funding (BSSG) has been very important in providing financial support for bus services across the Vale of Glamorgan.  The grant is ring fenced for Public Transport Services (Local Bus and Community Transport Facilities) and associated administrative costs, together with publicity, and also minor works such as bus shelter improvements. 

Relevant Issues and Options

3.    The total value of the grant across Wales is £11,175,347 for the 2015/2016 financial year, compared to £11,361,783 in 2014/2015. In 2014/15 the Vale of Glamorgan received £371,084. 

 

4.    One of the conditions of the grant is that a local authority must spend a minimum amount of its allocation on Community Transport Services.  The minimum spend for the Vale of Glamorgan Council is £24,655, although Welsh Government has set a suggested target of £81,718 for the 2015/16 financial year.  The Vale of Glamorgan Council contributes to the operating costs of VEST (Voluntary Emergency Services Transport), EVCT (East Vale Community Transport) and DPVC (Dinas Powys Voluntary Concern) as well as our own community transport scheme - Greenlinks. Applications for each operator have been assessed and the potential grant award is contained at Appendix A.

 

5.    In respect of standard Local Bus Services, the BSSG has in the past been used to support a number of additional services together with services provided on enhanced frequencies and in certain cases where there have been commercial services withdrawn but reinstated with BSSG.

 

6.    Welsh Government specify in its documentation that local authorities should use the BSSG to support their core strategic networks and enhance accessibility and connectivity to communities, essential services and facilities.

 

7.    In association with the former South East Wales Transport Alliance (SEWTA) the routes in Appendix A were previously agreed as strategic and supported the Welsh Government's key objectives.

 

8.    A summary of proposed expenditure for the BSSG for 2015/2016 is contained in Appendix B to this report.   

 

9.    Appendix B takes into account administration, publicity costs and minor works that can be apportioned to the BSSG.

 

10.    Appendix C shows the amount of cross boundary income that the Council can receive from neighbouring authorities, Cardiff and Bridgend. Cross boundary income is received as services funded by the Vale of Glamorgan operate within a different authority, giving those residents access to a service that they may not otherwise have.  The neighbouring authorities can make a contribution to the authority where these services originate.  This is worked out on a percentage/mileage basis and is usually received at the end of the financial year.

 

11.    As there is no binding agreement in place for payment of cross boundary income, it is very much a "informal agreement" between authorities. There is no guarantee that such income will be received year on year.

 

12.    For this purpose Services 321 and 95 (UHW Extension) will initially be funded from the Councils established budget.  If the cross boundary income does become available from neighbouring authorities then these services will be funded from this income.  Should the cross boundary income be received at year-end any resultant underspend will fund future bus services.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

13.    The award of funding letter needs to be accepted by Cabinet in order to be returned to WG by the deadline of 30 June, 2015, to avoid the funding being lost.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

14.    Measures to improve the quality, and to increase the use of public transport, improve transport accessibility and reduce reliance on single occupancy car movements, therefore having a positive impact on sustainability and climate change.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

15.    The Bus Services and Community Transport facilities detailed in this report operate under the Terms of the Transport Act 1985.  The BSSG received from the Welsh Government must be used on bus service provision, Community Transport and associated facilities.

Crime and Disorder Implications

16.    Public transport assists in the provision of a safe way for the population to travel throughout the Vale of Glamorgan and beyond.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

17.    Public transport is of particular importance to those who may not have direct access to private transport, particularly the elderly, young people and the physically impaired.

Corporate/Service Objectives

18.    The provision of reliable and efficient Public Transport Services provides alternative means of travel and ensures good accessibility for those without access to private transport.  This links with the Council's objectives for social wellbeing and tackling disadvantages.

Policy Framework and Budget

19.    This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

20.    No Ward Member consultation has been carried out as this is a Vale wide issue.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

21.    Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

Appendix A - "Award of funding in relation to bus services support grant 2015/16" letter from Monmouthshire Council (including terms and conditions)

Appendix B - Proposed Expenditure for BSSG 2015/16

Appendix C - Cross Boundary Income

Contact Officer

Kyle Phillips - Senior Transportation Officer - Tel: 01446 704760.

Officers Consulted

Finance Support Manager, Development Services

Legal - Committee Reports

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Interim Director of Development Services
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