Contact: Eilish McGoldrick, Democratic Services Officer
An apology for the inability to attend was reported on behalf of Alderman Dorrian.
Declarations of Interest
No Declarations of Interest were reported.
Translink - Update on Low and Zero Emission Buses
· Sarah Simpson, Business Change Manager
· Graeme Smyth, Public Affairs and Project Communications Officer
· William McGookin, Head of Ticketing – Translink
The Chairperson welcomed representatives of Translink to the meeting: Ms. S. Simpson, Business Change Manager, Mr. G. Smyth, Public Affairs and Project Communications Officer; Mr. D. Graham, Business Change Manager- Future Ticketing; and Mr. W. McGookin,Head of Ticketing Technology.
Ms. Simpson provided a presentation on Decarbonising Public Transport in Northern Ireland. She explained Translink’s Climate Positive Strategy which detailed how it wished to achieve this responsibly by:
· Achieving at least 50% reduction in Translink’s current emissions by 2030 in line with its Climate Action Pledge;
· Placing Translink at the forefront in the journey towards zero emission public transportation, and for all its buses, trains and buildings to be Net Zero by 2040;
· Metro services in Belfast will achieve this target by 2030; and
· Being Climate Positive by 2050, going beyond achieving net zero to create an environmental benefit by removing additional carbon dioxide from the environment while growing our business.
She described the ‘Framework To Achieve Climate Positive’ would be undertaken via the following priorities: Greener Vehicles (Bus Fleet Strategy, Rail Strategy, Supporting Systems); Greener Infrastructure (Energy Strategy and Sustainable Infrastructure); and Greener Business (Biodiversity, Circular Economy, Active Travel).
Ms. Simpson explained the Translink Fleet Strategy plans, with a migration to zero emissions fleet by to 2040. She described the Translink Zero Emissions Programme, which included how the battery electric vehicle (BEV) and hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) systems would work and illustrated a comparison of the two options.
She confirmed that the key operational considerations in the allocation of zero-emission fleet included:
· Capital expenditure and running costs;
· Vehicle capability, that is the range;
· Climate change and air quality concerns;
· Current demand and service levels, passenger growth and future demand targets;
· Fleet age;
· Regulatory standards with regard to accessibility, emissions, and safety;
· Reducing traffic congestion; and
· Complementing other bus projects.
She highlighted that the first 20 FCEVs would operate on the Antrim Road Corridor (Metro 1 services) and suggested that the route would benefit from improved bus speeds and journey times.
She pointed out that 80 BEVs would be used across the entire Belfast Metro network where practicable, with the full conversion of the Holywood Road, Castlereagh Road and Cregagh Road, with inner city centre locations benefiting from reduced emissions.
She also explained how the Zero-Emission Fleet would deliver economic, environmental, customer experience benefits and strategic direction.
Mr. Graham provided a presentation on the future of Translink’s Ticketing System. He described the £42.7 million investment project which would provide a bespoke solution via five phases of implementation. He explained the objectives of the system, as follows:
· Connecting people and opportunities through its future ticketing system transformation to increase the use of public transport;
· Updating - Replacing its obsolete ticketing equipment to collect fares revenue and record passenger journeys; and
· Facilitating – Making it easier for passengers to buy and use their tickets, easier for Translink to sell its tickets.
He explained the next steps of the project included the replacement of rail handheld ticket machines ... view the full minutes text for item 2a
Department for Infrastructure - Spring Report
· Kevin Monaghan- Divisional Roads Manager
· Michael McKendry- Belfast North Section Engineer
· David Williams- Belfast South Section Engineer
· Liz Loughran - Director of Transport Policy
· Andrew Grieve - Head of the Walking & Cycling Unit
The Chairperson introduced Mr. K. Monaghan, Eastern Divisional Roads Manager, Mr. M. McKendry, Belfast North Section Engineer, Mr. D. Williams, Belfast South Section Engineer, together with Ms. L. Loughran, Director of Transport Policy and Mr. A. Grieve, Head of the Walking and Cycling Unit in the Department for Infrastructure, to the Committee and they were admitted to the meeting.
Ms. Loughran and Mr. Grieve provided a brief presentation on the Belfast Cycling Network and its programme ‘Making Belfast an Active City’ which had been published on 4th June. She advised that the document followed a public consultation in 2017 and set out a blueprint for the development and operation of the cycling infrastructure in the city
for the next ten years.
Mr. Grieve highlighted the plans to ensure walking, wheeling, cycling and public transport was a priority in the city centre, together with the development of quiet routes throughout the city and low traffic and family friendly neighbourhoods.
He advised that the Department had established a dedicated team to lead in the delivery of this Belfast Cycling Network which would have responsibility for setting out a delivery plan for the entire network and it was expected that this outline delivery plan would be published by Autumn 2021.
He pointed out that, in relation to the funding of the programme, it was intended that the budget would grow, year on year, with the majority of the spend being expedited in the later years, after design plans had been confirmed.
Ms. Loughran outlined the infrastructure plans for 2021/22 and highlighted the key partnership work that had taken place with the Council under the Blue and Green Infrastructure Fund projects.
Mr. Monaghan presented the Spring Report. He advised the period from March 2020 had been unprecedented, caused by the impact of Covid-19, which had resulted in DfI contractors being unable to work from mid-March until around mid-May 2020, which had a knock on impact on its work programmes for the year. However, despite those challenges, the Roads Section had successfully delivered all of its planned programmes and services for 2020/21.
In relation to budgetary allocations, he advised that additional funds were being made available for walking and cycling, structural maintenance, safer routes to schools and traffic information and control.
He provided the Committee with updates on the main strategic transportation schemes for the city.
In relation to the York Street Interchange, he advised that delivery of the York Street Interchange scheme remained a high priority for the Department and highlighted the publication of the Public Inquiry Inspector’s Report and the Departmental Statement which had completed the statutory processes for the York Street Interchange with the exception of the Vesting of the required lands.
He reminded the Committee that the procurement process to award a contract for the detailed design phase of this scheme was halted in early 2017 as result of a legal action. This legal action concluded in September 2019, with the award of contract being set aside.
He highlighted that ... view the full minutes text for item 2b
It was reported that the following correspondence had been received in response to the queries raised at the last Special Committee with the Department for Infrastructure (Roads) in November, together with a recent letter which had been sent on behalf of the Committee:
· DfI Roads Eastern Division Reply to Special Committee of 24th November; and
· DfI Response - York Street Interchange Review and Belfast Cycle Network.
The Members of the Committee recommended that, in accordance with the Council decision of 4th May, the Chief Executive exercise her delegated authority to note the correspondence which had been received.