Agenda and draft minutes

Environment Scrutiny Commission - Monday 27 November 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: 160 Tooley Street, London SE1 2QH

Contact: Julie Timbrell 

No. Item



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     Councillor Youcef Hassaine gave apologies.


Notification of any items of business which the chair deems urgent

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    There were none.


Disclosure of Interests and Dispensations

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    There were none.




Vehicle Footway Crossovers

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    Dale Foden, Head of Highways, Highways Division, Environment, Neighbourhoods and Growth Department will present the enclosed report on Vehicle Footway Crossovers – commonly referred to as  dropped kerbs.



    Royal Horticultural Society report 

    ‘Gardening Matters Front Gardens- Are we parking on our gardens? Do driveways cause flooding?’ is enclosed as background information.


    Links to the following reports are also provided as background information:





    Supporting documents:


    The chair introduced the item by explaining that the officer report had been requested to address the installation of dropped kerbs (Vehicle Footway Crossovers)  and associated paving over of  front gardens to create parking. Officers have been asked to explore what can be done to prevent this, or if that is not possible, how it can be mitigated.


    The reports from Royal Horticultural Society, National Park City Foundation & Ealing Front Gardens Project have been provided as background information. As these lay out that by 2010 approximately 12 square miles of front gardens – equivalent to 22 Hyde Parks - had been paved over. By 2015, 50% of all of London’s front gardens had been paved over – a 36% increase through the decade. With the growth in EVs, there is now an additional catalyst driving applications for dropped kerbs. Loss of front gardens is having a significant impact on biodiversity, it also increases risks of flooding and is leading to rising temperatures in the urban environment.


    There are ways to reduce the impact by insisting on the use of permeable materials and retaining planting.


    Later in the agenda, we will explore pavement channels as a potential solution for charging Electrical Vehicles. The growth in EVs is one of the drivers for both the installation of paving and of Vehicle Footway Crossovers.


    Dale Foden, Head of Highways, Highways Division, Environment, Neighbourhoods and Growth Department was then invited to present the enclosed report on Vehicle Footway Crossovers. Michael Tsoukaris, Head of Design Conservation and Transport Planning Division is also joined the meeting to answer questions.


    The chair then invited questions and the following points were made:


    ·  Officers said that an Article IV Direction has to be agreed by the Secretary of State. These are usually employed for areas of particular concern rather than widespread over a large geographical area.  There is a consequence risk of appeal with residents seeking redress based in loss of value of parking. This is roughly estimated at £20k based on letting for garages. 


    ·  Dropped kerbs are only allowed where there is sufficient space for parking and no over-hanging of the pavement. Preventing this is through enforcement, but this has not been undertaken to date.


    ·  Officers said that there has been no equalities audit of the implementation of dropped kerbs. It was noted by members that generally these are installed in wealthier areas with larger properties with front gardens.


    ·  CPZs are used as a condition for refusal of dropped kerbs in the London Boroughs of Haringey and Camden. The justification is that dropped kerbs reduce access to parking on the highway. Officers were asked if there have been any legal challenges and they said that they have requested information on this from Camden. Members noted that this sets a  precedent. Officers said this does come down to legal opinion and they would seek more advice before seeking to implement an Article IV Direction in Southwark.



    ·  Members asked if more can be done with the material used  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Sustainable Freight Review - Highways update

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    Dale Foden, Head of Highways, Highways Division, Environment, Neighbourhoods and Growth Department has provided the enclosed report.  

    Supporting documents:




    Dale Foden, Head of Highways, Highways Division, Environment, Neighbourhoods and Growth Department gave a short summary of the Highways report provided.



Air Quality particulates - tyre and brake

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    Dr Ian Mudway, Imperial College London, will attend to present.


    The chair invited Dr Ian Mudway, Imperial University,  to present and explained that he has been invited here tonight to present on Air Quality and the health impacts of particulates from tyre, brakes and road dust, given the increasing numbers of Electric Vehicles (EV).


    Dr Ian Mudway said there has been a shift of late to move from studying the health impact of tailgate emissions to also now look at particulates. He explained this is a verbal presentation but he will provide further information on emerging research underway.


    He is explained he is presently working with colleagues to collate information arising from the implementation of ULEZ, which has been contentious. ULEZ has reduced tailpipe emissions and this will have a positive impact on Air Quality and health. 


    Particulates from braking will fall as EVs have regenerative braking. 


    He explained for tyres the evidence base is not considerable, and still quite sparse. It is quite difficult to identify tyre wear health impacts as tyres differ in composition and commercial propriety mean the composition is not transparent.


    The largest study on particulates is funded by US in London, in the Westway, Marylebone  and in parks. The first data is emerging soon.


    He said that scientists are starting to think long and hard about the impact of particulates, however research is still in the early stages. He advised the Commission to keep an eye on this, not to discount particulates and to adopt a precautionary principle. Gaps and uncertainties about the impact of particulates do not mean these are safe.


    The chair then invited questions and the following points were made: 


    a)  Dr Ian Mudway said the recent  focus on tailpipe emissions makes sense as the harms of diesel, and other emissions,  are established.  The scientific community are now catching up on particulates.


    b)  Members asked if there is a way to address tyre composition proprietary confidentiality. Dr Ian Mudway said there is a study in Cambridge that is doing an analysis of composition and toxicology.


    c)  Dr Ian Mudway said that the health impacts of particulates will be different than tailpipe emissions. There are different types of particulates released, including micro plastics and thermoplastics. At the moment, while there is limited evidence they are harmful, the precautionary principles applies. Public concern is ahead of the science.


    d)  There was a discussion on road surface dust as vehicle weight increases in EVs, and the resultant increase in tyre wear. 


    e)  Dr Ian Mudway was asked about opportunities to work together to lobby for better regulation and what can Southwark can do. He suggested the following policy and regulatory approaches:


    ·  Less journeys

    ·  Fewer vehicles

    ·  Consolidation - one journey 

    ·  Modal shift

    ·  Better research on the type of journeys and deliveries to inform reductions  (e.g. the work of Price Waterhouse Coopers on deliveries).




Pavement channel providers

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    The commission will hear from the below pavement channel providers:


    ·  Ian Mach, Founder & CEO | Chartered Civil Engineer (CEng MICE), Charge Gully.

    ·  Christopher Bibb, CEO , ElectricaPavecross


    The following videos will be shown:


    Charge Gully Video

    Pavecross Video

    In addition a paper is enclosed from Ian Mach, Charge Gully.

    Supporting documents:


    The chair welcomed the following pavement channel provider CEOs to the meeting remotely to answer questions: 


    • Ian Mach, Founder & CEO and Chartered Civil Engineer (CEng MICE), Charge Gully.

    • Christopher Bibb, CEO , Electrica, Pavecross.


    The following videos were then shown:


    Charge Gully Video


    Pavecross Video



    The chair also drew members’ attention to a paper provided by Ian Mach, Charge Gully.


    Members were then invited to ask questions and the following points were made:


    ·  Lamp-post EV charging comes with a higher price tariff than home charging.


    ·  Pavement channels prevent the loss of planted front gardens, on bigger properties, and open up cheaper EV charging to people in smaller street properties.


    ·  It is estimated that around 40% more people would switch to EV with more reliable charging. 


    ·  The government paper ‘Plan for Drivers’ is consulting on measures to increase charge point solutions, supporting pavement channel pilots and developing planning guidance for local authorities.


    ·  Planning Permission is currently required, and this can make it unfeasible, however guidance is in development by the government looking at this being Permitted Development.


    ·  Pavecross said the material used in their design is environmentally sustainable and uses recycled rubber and steel for durability. Charge Gully said their design uses a particular type of aluminium that uses less carbon to produce and is easily recycled, which links to the circular economy.


    ·  Pavecross said their design can be installed by a statutory undertaker and the maintenance is through a subscription.


    ·  There are ongoing pavement channel trails with East Lothian, Bath and with other local authorities.  The results can be shared with the Commission early next year.


    ·  A member commented that they would like to receive feedback on the issue of planning permission, and  impact on the highway,  from Planning and Highway officers. A member noted a concern that the process of resolving barriers to installation could be administratively time consuming.


    ·  The pavement channel CEOs said the technology for installation is not complicated. They would like to see greater leadership from central government to enable local authorities to allow installation, and suggested that authorisation could be simplified and concerns addressed through a meeting with officers.  Both CEOs indicted their willingness to discuss this further.



EV plan

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    Tom Sharland, Head of Climate Change & Sustainability, will present the enclosed Electrical Vehicle (EV) plan, which is presently out for consultation:




    Supporting documents:


    Tom Sharland, Head of Climate Change & Sustainability, presented a summary of the enclosed Electrical Vehicle (EV) plan, which is presently out for consultation.


    The chair then invited questions and the following points were made:


    ·  Members praised the opening statement that the most environmental journey is the car journey not taken.


    ·  Members asked about installation of pavement channels and the Head of Climate Change & Sustainability referred to health & safety concerns with the installation of electrical cables and offered to discuss this with relevant officers, as it was not his area of expertise, and come back to the commission.


    ·  Members asked about the commercial opportunities and officers said they had commissioned ‘City Side’  to explore  opportunities, especially on rapid charging. There is an intention to recruit a dedicated EV project manager with technical and commercial experience.


    ·  Officers said there are actions to support car sharing.


    ·  Officers were asked about the risk of over- provision given the desire to reduce car journeys over time, and they said there is modelling behind the scenes to prevent this.




    A letter will be draft by the Chair and Commission to respond to the draft EV plan , drawing on the evidence received this evening.


    Officers will be asked to comment on pavement channels,  and health and safety concerns,  in particular. 



Sustainable Freight Review - TFL

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    Transport for London will present on:


      Decarbonisation of deliveries


      London Freight Lab


      Delivery of Freight and servicing action plan: Making London’s streets safer, cleaner and more efficient’. The report can be found here.

    Supporting documents:


    The chair  welcomed Transport for London representatives:


      Dr Polyvios Polyviou : Transport Strategy & Policy

      Jonathan Baggs :  Community Partnerships Lead – South


    TfL representatives gave a presentation on decarbonisation of deliveries and the London Freight Lab.


    The chair then invited questions and the following points were made:



    ·  A member referred to the Freight Service Plan,  circulated in advance, and  actions related to  reducing serious accidents and deaths from HGVs. She asked if reducing the amount of HGV journeys would reduce these further and about the  ‘Direct Vision Standard’. In response TfL said that the  aim to move  80-90% of road journeys to other modes -rail / river / cargo bikes  - will positively impact on road safety. In addition the implementation of the ‘Direct Vision Standard’ is estimated to have helped to reduce,   by around 45% ,  those accidents attributed to poor sightlines. TfL is now aiming to enhance the safety standard from one star to three star .


    ·  A member welcomed the references to River Freight in the TfL plan  and commented that Southwark Council  has been looking at four  places for floating docks, and added that the Port of London Authority (PLA)  have been exploring this,  and there is huge scope. TfL were asked how closely they are looking at this and they responded that there are capability and feasibility studies . TfL  now need to look at integrating these into their plans and consider matters such as the  safety impacts. Currently TfL said while  there is not much delivery detail at present, there is  lots to draw upon, and the potential is recognised .


    ·  TfL has a plan for  zero carbon  deliveries  by 2025 and then they will be moving toward a higher standard . TfL procurement powers are limited to an extent but they are also  working with the  GLA.




Sustainable Freight Review - Planning and Development activity

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    Tim Cutts, Senior Regeneration Manager, will present the enclosed report.

    Supporting documents:


    The chair invited Tim Cutts, Senior Regeneration Manager, to present the report circulated in advance. The chair then invited questions and the following points were made:


    ·  A member asked if the large logistical hubs in development would use green roofs and manage the water sustainably and the officer provided assurances that they would.


    ·  Members asked about the size of the logistical hubs and the officer said these are very big as major jumping off places for London deliveries.


    ·  Members asked if it is right to concentrate many of these hubs on the Old Kent Road, and noted the Cross River Partnerships (CRP) presentations (see item 13) , which emphasised the need for  these sites to come with electrification to support EVs.  The officer said that the hubs do come with electrification to support EV. The hubs are also serving Westminster.


    ·  The officer was asked about reliance on the road network and asked if there is a risk of baking in the road network rather than the rail network, which is lower carbon. The officer said that they are working with the CRP to explore rail freight distribution networks and associated hubs at stations, however there is a massive need for distribution with the growth of online deliveries.


Sustainable Freight Review - Freight service update


Sustainable Freight Review - Cross River Partnership


Work Programme

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    Supporting documents:



    The chair invited comment on the work-plan and members requested more female speakers. The co-opted members suggested commenting on the walking and cycling plan, and their was a brief discussion on exploring how this would fit in with the work- plan.