Andrew Moss, Head of Transport Infrastructure, gave the following verbal update:-
- Bus service changes – Following concerns received of local residents, the Service was working with the team at SYMCA to try and identify a solution and some kind of modified service was often offered. On some occasions it was where services had not yet been replaced most likely due to the tendering process
- Transport infrastructure – A number of schemes were almost at completion i.e. Parkway Widening Scheme and the A630 Widening Scheme. The Bellows Road Scheme was now complete as well as Greasbrough Coach Road
- Developing Future Schemes – City Region Sustainable Transport Settlement Fund (CRST) . Rotherham would receive £70M+ over 5 years and replaced the Transport Block funding. The Service was looking at assembling the resources to develop business cases for future schemes primarily focussed around public transport improvements, journey reliability and access/congestion of junctions on key routes across the Rotherham area
- The other emphasis within the CRST was the development of business cases for Rotherham mainline station at Parkgate and a new station at Waverley. These would complement the public transport ethos of how the CRST programme was being promoted
- The TCF schemes were progressing with some successes. The Doncaster Road Scheme was a potential less successful scheme due to engineering blockages having been identified causing cost pressures on the proposed scheme and bringing the whole scheme into doubt
- Other schemes progressing on the TCF programme through the various stages of consultation and design for Sheffield Road and consultation was to start on Manvers Way Scheme as well as on Maltby quality bus corridor
- Funding – During the summer Active Travel Fund 4 had been released and, together with colleagues at SYMCAS, the team had begun to identify potential routes to develop bids to that programme. Due to the uncertainty in Central Government, it was not known whether Active Travel 4 would continue or not, however, there would be a short list of schemes for consideration of inclusion in the SYMCA submission to Government.
- 3 schemes were nearing completion related to the Clean Air Zone priorities in South Yorkshire (Rotherham and Sheffield) – Wortley Road (weight restriction), Parkway Widening Scheme (speed limitations) and Bellows Road (bus lane priority junction)
Discussion ensued on the Bellows Road bus lane priority junction. Rawmarsh Ward Councillors had been told at the beginning of the development that the Government had not liked all the buses going up Rawmarsh Hill causing fumes so an alternative would be to use Barbers Avenue and was why junction improvement works had taken place at a cost of 2.5M. Now bus companies were saying that they would still use Rawmarsh Hill.
Andrew Moss stated that it had been a Central Government mandate to consider air quality in urban areas. Clean Air Zones and policies had been developed, in particular within South Yorkshire, to meet certain levels of air quality standard. However, since the development of the scheme, unforeseen events had taken place resulting in altered travel/work patterns and societal behaviour.
Bus operators had to run viable services and had had to respond to the difficulties experienced during and after the pandemic. However, in order to meet the legal requirements of the Government mandate, the Authority would meet with bus operators to try and find a compromise on clean air requirements. As a last resort the Authority had powers within Road Traffic Legislation which could be used to ensure compliance with air quality standards
Agreed:- That a meeting be convened with Rawmarsh Ward Councillors, Transport Infrastructure and relevant bus operators to discuss the issue of Bellows Road further.