Agenda Item No 10

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Community Liaison Committee: 3rd July 2018

 

Report of the Director of Environment and Housing

 

Condition of Bus Shelters in Rural areas of Vale of Glamorgan and Consideration of No Smoking Signs

 

Purpose of the Report

  1. To advise Committee of the current maintenance arrangements for bus shelters and the provision of no smoking signs.

Recommendations

  1. That Committee notes the contents of the report and the current arrangements in place for maintenance, repair and cleaning maintenance of bus shelters.
  2. That Committee notes the current legislation in relation to smoking in Wales and position adopted to comply with the law in regard to the provision of no smoking signs in bus shelters.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. To advise Committee of the procedures for maintenance, repair and cleaning maintenance of bus shelters.
  2. To advise Committee of the legislation relating to smoking in Wales and specifically relating bus shelters.

Background

  1. Local Authorities have the power to provide and maintain bus shelters under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1953 Section 4. Statutory powers give local authorities the opportunity to take action where deemed appropriate and are therefore discretionary.
  2. Bus shelters may be provided, owned or maintained by a number of organisations, Town and Community Councils, Commercial Operators, Council's or developers and private property owners depending on specific circumstances and locations. However, the Council has sole responsibility for deciding the location of bus stops throughout the area.
  3. Where bus shelters are provided by third parties on public highway then an appropriate street furniture licence and / or other formal legal agreement may be required.
  4. Currently, there are some 1000 bus stops located throughout the Vale of Glamorgan Council's area, including both rural and urban locations. In 2018, the Council's Passenger Transport team surveyed all bus stops in the Vale of Glamorgan in order to have an up to date record of existing bus stops comprising the type, standard and condition of infrastructure provided at each bus stop location. This information is currently being added to a mapping system.
  5. On 2nd April 2017 legislation came into force in Wales making it illegal to smoke in all public enclosed or substantially enclosed areas and workplaces to assist with decreasing smoking related illness and health inequalities. The definition of substantially enclosed defines an enclosed public space or building as 'substantially enclosed' if it has 'a ceiling or roof, but has an opening in the walls, which is less than half the total area of the walls, including other structures which serve the purpose of walls.
  6. Where applicable a no-smoking sign complying with the requirements of legislation must be displayed in a prominent position at or near each entrance to smoke-free premises.
  7. Persons caught smoking in a banned place can receive fixed penalty notices of £50 or if it goes to court, the maximum fine is £200. Premises can also break the law by failing to display no-smoking signs (£200 fixed penalty, maximum fine £1,000) and businesses can be fined for failing to prevent smoking in a smoke-free place, up to £2.500. Enforcement is generally undertaken by trading standards or public protection officers employed by local authorities.

Relevant Issues and Options

  1. Bus shelters of varying styles, constructions and conditions exist on the Council's highway network and as identified above there is no formal audit or data base recording specific details of these assets currently throughout the Council's local highway network.
  2. The Council recognises the need for bus stops and associated infrastructure to be designed to appropriate guidance and best practice as provided in the documents below, especially for the elderly and people with disabilities:

- Institute of Highways and Transport (IHT) Revised Guidelines

- Reducing Mobility Handicaps Towards a Barrier Free Environment

- Inclusive Mobility - A Guide to Best Practice on Access to Pedestrian and Transport Infrastructure

- Transport for London - Accessible Bus Stop Guidance

- BSI Design and their approach to meet needs of disabled people - Code of Practice and

- Bus Users UK - Public Transport for People with Sensory Loss

  1. To reflect the requirements of the guidance and best practice, the Council has previously adopted standards for bus stop infrastructure referred to as Gold, Silver and Bronze standards depending on location, land availability and usage. The criteria for these Gold, Silver and Bronze standard bus stops is provided in Appendix A. Currently these standards and criteria have not been adopted formally as policy by the Council.
  2. The Council has upgraded a significant number of bus stops incorporating the new standards over the last 10 years whenever funding has been available either through grant monies or Section 106 sustainable development monies from new developments in various areas of the Vale. There is no specific agreed programme of replacement or upgrading of bus stops as this undertaken on a case by case basis subject to necessary funding in specific areas being available.
  3. It should be noted that there are still many bus stops that exist where the infrastructure was in place prior to the adoption of the Gold, Silver and Bronze standards and the current provision may not necessarily reflect local user needs.
  4. The Council has limited internal capital monies available for new bus shelters or upgrading existing shelters and only a limited revenue budget for the maintenance and cleaning of all existing bus stop shelters.
  5. The Gold standard bus stops shelters generally installed at designated sites are provided as part of an existing bus shelter equipment operating agreement dated 1st June 2000 with Clear Channel International Ltd (Adshel) for an initial period of 15 years. The contract was subsequently extended for a further 4 years and the Council is now reviewing the contract prior to making any future decisions regarding the provision of this service.
  6. The Gold standard shelters and other bus shelters depending on the type and standard to be provided may require planning permission or conservation area consent.
  7. The Council is currently responsible for the provision of maintenance and cleaning of bus shelters as far as reasonably practicable given existing budget limitations. For Gold Standard shelters this responsibility has been contracted out to Clear Channel who are responsible for the operation, maintenance, cleaning and repair of these shelters in accordance with the abovementioned contract agreement.
  8. For existing bus shelters other than the Gold Standard shelters, the Council currently has no planned inspection, maintenance, repair and cleaning regime and this work is generally undertaken on an ad hoc basis when service requests are received regarding concerns over the condition of individual shelters. The Council does not have a statutory duty to undertake this work, however, the council recognises the importance of maintaining and improving existing bus stops and shelters wherever possible to encourage bus transport usage and passenger growth.
  9. In certain circumstances Community Councils have previously requested and taken over the responsibility of the function to maintain, repair and clean existing bus shelters in their Ward by agreement with the Council. Such requests are considered on a case by case basis subject to details and arrangements proposed.
  10. The Council currently has no specific policy on smoking within its bus shelters throughout the Vale and therefore the determination of whether smoking is permitted or not is determined by compliance with the appropriate legislation. Therefore, the general position adopted to comply with the law is that a no smoking sign will normally be provided within a bus shelter if its construction is such that the provision of front, side and back panels causes the floor area of the shelter to be enclosed by 50% or more.
  11. It is anticipated that without appropriate legislation a blanket ban on no smoking within bus shelters would be difficult to enforce.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. The Council's revenue budget for streetcare of bus shelters which includes maintenance, repair and cleaning is circa £26k annually.
  2. The streetcare of bus shelters budget is managed by existing staff resources within the Council's Neighbourhood Services and Transport Department.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. The provision of well-maintained and clean bus shelters provides a sheltered environment for bus users against inclement weather conditions whilst waiting for their bus and in doing so, further improves the image of public transport overall, which in turn assists with modal shift from private vehicles to a more sustainable transport option.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. The Council has a duty to maintain the Highway pursuant to the Highways Act (1980).
  2. A person's 'right to smoke' in an enclosed environments is limited by the Smokefree Environments Act.
  3. Smoking is not covered by the Human Rights Act and therefore there are there are no human rights implications.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. The provision of local bus services and associated infrastructure provides a safe way for the population to travel throughout the Vale of Glamorgan and beyond.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. It is a requirement of the Smoke-free Premises etc. (Wales) Regulations 2007 for the legal signage to be in Welsh and English (i.e. Mae ysmygu yn y fangre honerbyn y gyfraith / It is against the law to smoke in these premises) in addition to the no smoking pictogram.
  2. 'Accessible' bus stop infrastructure is required to enable access to services by persons with disabilities.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. Environment - Outcome:  Current and future generations of Vale residents and visitors enjoy the built and natural environment of the Vale of Glamorgan and actively protect and maintain them.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. No consultation on this matter has been undertaken as this is a Vale wide matter.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Environment and Regeneration.

Background Papers

None.

Contact Officer

Mike Clogg - Operational Manager Engineering

Officers Consulted

Committee Reports - Legal

Environment and Housing - Accountant

Group Manager Transport Services

Responsible Officer:

Miles Punter - Director of Environment and Housing