To:Allmembersofthecounty Councilfrom: County Secretary S

To:Allmembersofthecounty Councilfrom: County Secretary S



To:AllMembersoftheCounty CouncilFrom: County Secretary’s

All Chief Officers Department

Ask For: Neil Terry

Cc:Environment Officers)Ext: 25413

Officers named for action) e-mailMy ref:

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C L Berry, N K Brook, D J Drake, P V Goggins (substitute for R G Prowse),

D J Hewitt (substitute for W A Storey), S E Jones, J T Metcalf,

S B A Giles-Medhurst (Chairman), M D R Muir, D A A Peek,

L Spencer (substitute for A D Dodd), R Thomas

Also present:

Executive Member:S J Pile

Other Members:D Beatty, R I N Gordon, I E M Tarry, R S Clements


P V Goggins replaced R G Prowse,D J Hewittreplaced W A Storey, L Spencer replaced A D Dodd.


The minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 20June2006were confirmed and signed by the Chairman as an accurate record.



QUESTIONS (Standing Order C 9 (4))


1.1 / The Chairman opened the meeting and David Moses, Head of Scrutiny, informed the Committee that in accordance with Standing Order [SC.3/4] three members had summoned a special meeting of the Committee by notice in writing to the CountySecretary.
As a consequence, the business of the meeting was to consider the decision taken by the Cabinet on 24 July 2006in relation to Faith School Transport and whether to recommend the Cabinet reconsider that decision on the grounds of environmental impact.
1.2 / During discussion the Committee considered the following issues:
  • The average cost per term for transport (cost of fares attached as appendix 3)
  • Whether transport will be retained for those with entitlement?
  • The cost of transporting pupils by car compared with by bus

1.3 / How was the figure, mentioned at Full Council, of 2,000 tonnes of additional carbon dioxide arrived at?
The Director of Environment explained that CO2 is measured in tonnes and that Hertfordshire usage is estimated at around 19million tonnes. Transport accounts for about 1.6m tonnes and the additional 2,000 estimate comes from a worst case scenario of all pupils being transported by car.
The Director advised caution in terms of accuracy of these estimates
1.4 / Appendix 4 of the report considered Traffic Conditions in the vicinity of the schools. What would be the impact on local buses if a large number of additional pupils travelled on these?
The Committee were informed that the Bus Industry is de-regulated but, if the market found a significant number of additional pupils were using the services,then the market is likely to respond with more buses or more frequent bus services. It is not possible for the County Council to guess what impact additional pupils on buses would have on other bus users.
1.5 / The Chairman asked a number of questions that had not been answered at the Full Council meeting in July. They were:
  • What number of bus services feed St Michaels School?
  • How many Personal Injury Accidents occur near each school?
  • What action is proposed to restrict parking near schools?
The Assistant Director, Rob Smith provided the following responses:
  • There are currently 14 bus services serving St Michaels School
  • An assessment at 12 schools over 3 years recorded the following accident rates:
-9 injury accidents near the 12 schools
-3 injury accidents at school journey times
-2 accidents at St Michaels / 3 at John Henry
  • Petitions in September 2002 resulted in road markings and road signings. There is no off road parking provision on the school sites except for St Mary’s in Bishops Stortford which has a lay-by outside.

1.6 / David Moses provided an Executive Summary of the issues discussed during the meeting.
The Committee:
1.Noted the view of the Executive Member that the Cabinet had sufficient information available to them on the environmental impact of the Faith Transport proposals to enable them to reach an informed decision.
2.Accepted that there were so many variables in calculating the environmental impact of the proposals for which only an estimate could be given in advance of the proposals being implemented.
3.Noted the clarification provide by the Deputy Leader of the difference between the current and proposed policies in that:
  • under the existing policy provision is planned around those entitled to free places with spare places allocated to assisted places
  • the new policy will be to provide sufficient places to meet the demand for both free and assisted places
4.Noted that the following mitigation measures were being planned:
  • Arrangements for low income families
  • Sufficient capacity on the buses
  • Further development of school travel plans
  • Overall review of travel plans
5.Expressed differing views over the effectiveness of school travel plans. A majority agreed that experience so far shows the potential such plans have in reducing the number of vehicle journeys to schools and a minority expressing doubts over their current success.
6.Questioned whether more could be done to maximise the potential for switching short -term journeys away from the use of private cars.
7.Accepted that there would be a market response by commercial bus operators in respect of an increased demand for bus travel to school, although a minority view challenged the advisability of mixing pupils and the general public.
8.Welcomed the prioritisation work being undertaken with district councils to seek road traffic orders for zigzag markings outside of schools and the Assistant Director's willingness to seek support for district councils to have powers to take action against parking on pavements adjacent to zigzag markings outside schools or at zebra crossings.
9.Requested that Members be circulated a briefing note about the issues raised in recent press coverage of the issue. (attached to the minutes)
10.Welcomed the Executive Members commitment to:
i)bring forward consideration of the council’s walking and cycling strategies so that the full potential of these modes of transport to schools can be realised as soon as possible;
ii)examine the effectiveness of:
a)stricter parking controls and traffic restrictions in the vicinity of schools;
b)20 mph speed limits in the vicinity of schools;
c)20 mph speed limits and home zones in residential areas;
d)Provision of cycles, cycle training and cycle maintenance for pupils;
to reduce the environmental impact of journeys to schools at all schools in the county.
11.Agreed on a majority basis not to request the Cabinet to reconsider its decision in respect of faith transport on the grounds that sufficient consideration had been given to the possible environmental impact of the change in policy / Neil Terry

Andrew Laycock


Appendix 2

Press release in response to the ‘Only Baptised Can Ride on School Bus’ story in the Welwyn & Hatfield Times

'Hertfordshire currently provides home to school transport to faith schools. We provide free transport to all children attending their nearest maintained faith school if they have a place there in line with their parents beliefs. This applies for children aged eight or over where the family lives more than three miles away.

Sydnie's Mother Frances wanted her to go to TownsendSchool in St Albans. To qualify for free transport to a Church of England school the child must be baptised or have a parent on the parish electoral roll. We think it quite reasonable when offering transport to faith schools that parents show that the child is of that faith.TheCounty Council operates transport to faith schools in accordance with its policy to Church of England, Catholic and Jewish schools. Currently there are no Muslim schools in Hertfordshire.

When Frances decided to seek a place for Sydnie at TownsendSchool, she had guidance from the information given in a booklet to help parents. This explains whether they would be entitled to transport before making preferences. In addition, further guidance is available through the Customer Service Centre, or by attending one of the meetings organised for parents in their area.

If the family do not wish to travel on public transport, there would be the opportunity to attend a local school in Hatfield. Officers are in the process of contacting the family to discuss what support might be available to Sydnie.

With regard to the older child in the 6th form an application has been made for a free bus pass to travel on a local bus service to the school. Students between 16 and 18 whose family is in receipt of a qualifying benefit may receive assistance with home to school transport by way of a free bus pass if the school is within 3 to 15 miles of home. The PassengerTransport Unit are processing the application for the older sibling today'.

Appendix 3

At the special Environment Scrutiny meeting, Cllr John Metcalf asked about the various fares for pupils from Borehamwood to St Albans if they were not eligible for free transport. The five fares of interest were:

1. Assisted travel places on the school bus to Nicholas Breakspear

2. By 861 school service to Townsend

3. By train to Loreto

4. By 655 bus to Marlborough

5. By 862 school service to Francis Bacon

The fares are as follows:

1. Assisted Transport on school bus to Nicholas Breakspear are distance related - so the 3 prices are:

0 - 2.99 miles £104 termly£52 half termly

3 - 4.99 miles £144 termly£72 half termly

5 and over £190 termly£95 half termly

2. 861 to Townsend: £3.20 per day with SaverCard; Autumn term season £196, annual fee £486.

3. 655 to Marlborough: £2.60 per day with SaverCard; network tickets from UNO - £9 per week, £29 per month.

4. 862 to Francis Bacon: £2.20 per day with SaverCard; Autumn term season £135,annual fee £334 (single fares fixed at similar levels to UNO 602 over same section).

5. Train to Loreto: £3.15 per day for passengers up to the age of 16; £6.30 for the over 16’s; 16+ with a TrainCard get one third off weekly, monthly or quarterly season tickets.


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