Item_7_Skip_Permits_ - Ealing Council

Document Sample
Item_7_Skip_Permits_ - Ealing Council Powered By Docstoc
					Transport & Env Panel March 09.skips

                                                   Report to Scrutiny

                                              Item Number:    7

Contains Confidential Or        No
Exempt Information

                               Review of the Arrangements of the licensing of Builders
Subject of Report:
                               Skips and to review the Restricted Roads List.
Meeting:                       Transport and Environment Panel
                               25 March 2009

                               Geraldine Sluter Envirocrime Area Manager
Service report author:
                               Tel 0208 8132814

                               Phil Williams Scrutiny Review Officer
Scrutiny officer:    
                               0208 8256568

Cabinet Responsibility:        Susan Emment Environment & Street Services
                               Keith Townsend Executive Director Environment &
Director Responsibility:       Customer Services
                               Tel 0208 8259551

                                To be completed by the Scrutiny Officer (What the
Brief:                         Committee/Panel is being asked to do – this section is
                               completed at the pre-agenda meeting)

                                To be completed by the Scrutiny Officer (What the
Recommendations:               Committee/Panel is invited to conclude - this section is
                               completed at the pre-agenda meeting)

Transport & Env Panel March 09.skips

1.      Safer Skips Initiative.

1.1    This report reviews the arrangements for the obtaining of a permit for Builders’
       Skips and suggests proposals for new arrangements including revision of
       costs and the need to update the restricted streets list. It is proposed that the
       new arrangements will then be the subject of a report to cabinet for approval

       As part of the review, the proposals as outlined below, will aim to

           Expedite and streamline the enforcement process
           Expedite and streamline the application process
           Facilitate the use of e-commerce
           Raise awareness of legal requirements.

1.2     Background

1.21   In order to deposit a builder’s skip on the public highway it is necessary to
       obtain a permit from the highway authority and to meet a number of
       conditions. At present the applicant can be the owner/resident of the site, the
       builder working there or the skip company. Applications may currently be
       made by post after request via the contact centre or by personal visit. Under
       the present system the legal responsibility for depositing a skip on the public
       highway is with the skip company, however persons other than the skip
       company may apply for a permit. If a skip is placed on the public highway
       without a valid skip permit then enforcement action can be taken against the
       skip company. The person applying for the skip permit, by signing the
       application makes an undertaking to comply with certain conditions such as
       lighting the skip during the hours of darkness. Failure to do so can result in
       enforcement action being taken. It is intended to review how the effective
       enforcement of the requirement to light skips during the hours of darkness can
       be undertaken within existing resources.

        The drawbacks of the current service are-;
               Responsibility issues with regard to the permit applicant and the
                 skip company depositing a skip.
               Turnaround time for skip permit applications on line with
                 immediate effect, 3 days if applying to front office.
               Confusion in the minds of residents as to who should apply for a

                  Lack of clarity to the permit number; skip companies accept the
                   permit number from the resident without full permit details.

1.22   The Council currently maintains an Authorised Skips List (ASL) of 104 Skip
       companies, which are authorised by the council to deposit skips in the
       borough. This list is on the Ealing Council website. The purpose of this list is
       to ensure that the skip companies, by virtue of being on the list, are aware of
       the regulations.

Transport & Env Panel March 09.skips

1.23   The Council also maintains a Restricted Roads List (RRL) of 143 roads. This
       list is also on the Ealing Council website. The purpose of this list is to ensure
       that Skip permits are not issued for depositing skips on a site that is unsuitable
       (eg narrow road, a road with high traffic density). Upon receipt of a skip permit
       application for a restricted road Envirocrime Officers conduct a site visit to
       ascertain the suitability of the site for depositing a skip. The RRL has not been
       updated for some years and due to the introduction of CPZs (although a
       dispensation can be given for a fee of £10), other parking restrictions, yellow
       lines and heavier traffic, the current list requires updating.

1.24   No permit is required for placing a skip on private land whether it is a
       driveway, a front garden or land adjacent to the public highway. Where the
       access to the private land does not have a highway cross over the council
       does not give any permission for a skip lorry to cross the footpath to deposit a
       skip. The repair of any damage done to the footpath (if proven) can be
       charged to the offender, or in most instances to the site owner. It is not yet
       known how much is spent each year on repairing footpaths which have been
       damaged by vehicles crossing them to gain access to work sites. However it is
       known that only a small percentage of the costs are recharged, mainly due to
       lack of evidence about the offenders.

1. 3   Reasons for proposed changes.

       In light of the drawbacks listed in 1.21, current licensing and enforcement
       arrangements require review. Placing the sole responsibility for applying for a
       permit on the skip company will ensure that all skip related offences such as
       depositing unlicensed and unlit skips will become the responsibility of the
       skip company. This will ensure more effective enforcement, as details of the
       offender will be held on file.

1.31   As a result of defects with current systems there has been an increase in the
       need to take action in relation to skip related issues.

1.32   The Approved Skips List (ASL) requires updating in order to ensure that only
       skips from companies on this list are deposited on the public highway in the
       borough. This will ensure more control within the system and allow for ease of
       enforcement should infringements occur.

1.33   The Restricted Roads List (RRL) requires updating to ensure that less skips
       are deposited in potentially dangerous locations. After the update, this may
       initially increase site visits for officers but will give more control within the
       system. An updated RRL will be of use to both Parking and Highways.

1.34   The depositing of skips on private land, where this entails the crossing of the
       footpath is a growing problem. This is largely anecdotal and has not been
       quantified however, . There is an urgent need to take measures to militate
       against losses incurred by the council for repairing damaged footpaths. In this
Transport & Env Panel March 09.skips

        regard the proposal will ensure joined up working with Highways.

1. 4    Proposals

1.4 1 Many London Boroughs allow only skip companies to apply for permits which
      allows for more control of the application process. It is proposed that Ealing
      adopts a similar policy. Once on Approved Skips List (ASL) companies will
      be allocated a unique number to allow them to apply using an online
      application form. Their unique number will be verified by the system and allow
      details to be automatically completed. Site details will be automatically
      checked against the Restricted Roads List (RRL). If the road is not restricted
      and payment by credit card is authorised, the permit can be issued
      immediately and printed off by the skip company and/or emailed to their email
      address. Companies not on the ASL can still apply but it will take longer to
      issue their permit and the charge will be greater reflecting the extra
      administration required.

        Research has shown that charges for a skip permit vary across different
        councils. Ealing’s charge of £20 per permit is one of the lowest in London.
        Neighbouring borough’s charge the following-;

                   Hillingdon -------------------------- £16 for 30 days (increase due in April)
                   Harrow ------------------------------ £ 26 for 28 days
                   Brent -------------------------------- £ 32 for 14 days
                   Hammersmith and Fulham ---- £ 56 per month
                   Hounslow -------------------------- £ 60 for 14 days

        There is scope for Ealing to increase the charge from £20 to £30 per month
        for online applications, which will place Ealing’s charge in the median of the
        figures cited. The charge is for the coverage of inspections and admin for non-
        online applications from skip companies on the ASL there will be a charge of
        £40 per permit. Applications from skip companies not on the ASL will incur a
        charge of £50 per permit to cover the cost of the extra administration.

        Charges will be reviewed annually. At present the income figures from skip
        permits are-;

       Period           No.               Of      Income        Income using proposed rates
1/4/08 – 13/2/09               3317               £ 66,340                  £ 99,510

The above assumes that all applications will be online.

1.42    Approved Skips List

        Work is currently underway to update the ASL. At present no charge is made
        for a skip company to be on the ASL It is envisaged that most of the skip
        companies on the ASL at present will re-apply to be included in the list.
        Applications for inclusion on the ASL will need to be supported by proof of

Transport & Env Panel March 09.skips

       public liability insurance as well as waste carriers licence details as held by
       the Environment Agency. All companies will need to reapply to enable the
       introduction of new terms and conditions and this will allow the council to
       remove unsuitable companies from the ASL. Reasons for removal from the
       ASL include but are not limited to -;

                    Being successfully prosecuted for illegally depositing a skip
                     without a valid permit
                    Non-registration with the Environment Agency
                    Offences connected with wrongfully trading which may
                     undermine the public’s confidence in the integrity of the ASL.

       Removal will be for a period of 12 months in connection with serious
       infringements These include but are not limited to

        Persistent depositing of skips on the highway without a permit
        Continually leaving full skips on the highway.
        Generally not cooperating with the Council and Enforcement Officers.

       Companies will be allowed to appeal against removal. Income from the ASL
       after a first fee free year will be roughly £5,200. This is based on the current
       104 companies on the ASL.

1.43   Restricted Roads List (RRL)

       Currently there are 143 roads on the RRL. It is proposed that Envirocrime
       Officers will check the roads in their respective wards and update the RRL.
       Information will be shared with Highways Management and Parking Services
       to create a definitive list. The list will be hosted on the Internet.

1.44   Skips on private land

       Currently in Ealing skip companies depositing a skip on private land do not
       have to apply for a permit. Some boroughs, including neighbouring Hounslow,
       do not allow skips to be placed in gardens. Brent Council charges a deposit to
       skip companies in respect of possible damage to the Highway. In order to deal
       effectively with the issue of skip lorries damaging the public footway it is
       proposed that skip companies will need to apply for a permit to cross the
       public highway similar to applications for scaffolding or hoarding licence. As
       they will be on the ASL, the council will already have checked their public
       liability insurance. An inspection of the site will be undertaken by the
       Envirocrime Officer, for which a charge of £30 will be made, the condition of
       the footway noted and photos taken. If permission is granted, this should be
       for a time scale similar to the skip permit, i.e. one month. A deposit in the
       region of £400 will also be taken from the skip company which will be returned
       after a second site inspection following the expiration of the permission if no
       damage to the highway or footpath has been caused. Brent council take a
       deposit for similar cases.

Transport & Env Panel March 09.skips

       The full details of these proposals will need to be finalised prior to a final
      decision to implement them

2      Legal Implications

      Section 139 of the Highways Act 1980 provides that a builder’s skip shall not
      be deposited on a highway without the permission of the highway authority
      which may be granted unconditionally or subject to such conditions as may be
      specified in the permission. By virtue of the Local Authorities (Transport
      Charges) Regulations 1998 the Council may charge for an application under
      section 139. The amount of the charge is at the Council’s discretion having
      regard to the cost.

      Section 184 of the Highways Act 1980 makes provision for arrangements for
      vehicle crossovers. In some instances it is an offence to drive a vehicle over
      the footway without permission.

       The London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act 2003 have
      extended the legislative provisions in to enable Fixed Penalty notices to be
      issued by authorised offices for offences arising in connection with builders
      skips. Further legal administrative, work which being co-ordinated by London
      Councils, is currently taking place to enable the new powers to be adopted.

3       Financial Implications

3.1   The cost of providing the online solution is being met as part of the Customer
      Services Improvement Program capital funding.
3.2   Under these proposals it is envisaged that there will be an increase of 50% in
      the revenue receipts from skip permits as outlined in 1.41 There will also be
      extra revenue in year 2 from the charge of £50 per year levied on each skip
      company on the ASL. Other increases will be from inspection charges for
      permission for skip lorries to cross the footway. Savings will be made, as
      damages to the footway will be recharged to skip companies from the deposits
      held by the council.
3.3   Upon adoption of the ALC process for issuance of fixed penalty notices for
      offences related to skips and other highway offences there may be a
      consequent increase in revenue as well as savings in legal costs due to
      offenders choosing to pay FPNs rather than being prosecuted.

4     Other Implications

      There are no foreseeable risks. The proposals are already standard practice
      across a number of London Boroughs

5     Background Papers
      Highways Act 1980
Transport & Env Panel March 09.skips

      Local Authorities (Transport Charges) Regulations 1998
      The London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act 2003