Agenda item

Call-in of the Individual Cabinet Member Decision on Sheffield Inner Ring Road and Junctions

Report of the Policy and Improvement Officer



The Committee considered the following decision of the Cabinet Member for Transport and Development, made on 11th January, 2019:-




“That the Sheffield Inner Ring Road Scheme be approved and implemented, in accordance with the details set out in the report.”








The lead signatory to the call-in was Councillor Martin Phipps, and the other signatories were Councillors Kaltum Rivers, Robert Murphy, Alison Teal and Douglas Johnson.




Reasons for the Call-In




The signatories wanted to scrutinise the impacts of air pollution on the City’s priorities and the public’s health.








·                     Councillor Jack Scott (Cabinet Member for Transport and Development)


·                     Tom Finnegan-Smith (Head of Strategic Transport and Infrastructure)


·                     Andrew Marwood (Senior Engineer)


·                     Ogo Osammor (Lead Air Quality Officer).


·                     Councillor Martin Phipps, Lead Signatory to the call-in.


·                     Councillor Douglas Johnson, Signatory to the call-in.




Questions asked by Members of the Public




Roy Morrison




1.         How does the scheme square with the proposed Clean Air Zone?


2.         How will the scheme provide quicker and more reliable bus journeys?




James Martin




Mr. Martin referred to paragraph 4.1 in the report to Councillor Jack Scott (Cabinet Member for Transport and Development), dated 11th January, 2019, which states that an Equality Impact Assessment had been carried out and that the measures would improve accessibility.  Mr. Martin stated that as far as he was aware, the Access Liaison Group had not been consulted on this.




Ruth Mersereau




1.         In its report, the Council states that the business case for active travel, including cycle schemes, has not been identified.  How was this conclusion reached and how was this quantified?




2.         What effect does the Council think the Inner Ring Road expansion will have on noise pollution levels and their effect of residents living near to the road?




Andrew Rogers




What consideration has been given to the residents of Kelham Island and the surrounding area regarding the increase in traffic?




Councillor Jack Scott responded to the questions as follows:-




·                     Clean Air Zone – The model scheme will result in better air quality as the aim was to prioritise public transport to move through the area quicker.  If the scheme did not go ahead, the air quality would decrease.




·                     Bus Journeys and Traffic Lights – Councillor Scott said that the prioritisation of public transport brought about by the scheme would significantly reduce the delays to bus journeys and ease congestion, particularly at peak times, and clear traffic out of the city centre.  Without the scheme, bus times would increase and cause further delays. The scheme would provide improved, safe crossing facilities for pedestrians and cyclists.




·                     Access Liaison Group – Councillor Scott confirmed that the Access Liaison Group had not been consulted regarding this scheme, so could not comment as to whether it endorsed it.




·                     Active Travel – This was a stand-alone scheme and as yet was not completed.  It was thought that this scheme does provide improvements for pedestrians, public transport users and cyclists.




·                     Noise Pollution – It was envisaged that there would not be a significant change in noise levels should the scheme go ahead.




·                     Whilst there has been significant growth within the Inner Ring Road area, the scheme addresses the wider transport issues facing the city as it continues to improve economically and regenerate.




Councillor Martin Phipps, as Lead Signatory to the call-in, stated that he had a number of concerns regarding the scheme.  These were primarily (a) that the residents of Kelham Island and the surrounding area were concerned that the scheme would increase the physical separation of the area from the city centre; (b) due to the fact that the Parkway was already in breach of legal air quality limits, the scheme would increase air pollution; (c) what were the long-term benefits of the scheme and could other options be explored; and (d) the intent of the scheme was to allow more cars to pass through the Inner Ring Road Area to accommodate the full build out of the city centre’s development.  Councillor Phipps said that the preferred preliminary design did not appear to give prioritisation to public transport and asked for this to be clarified.




Councillor Douglas Johnson, as a signatory to the call-in, referred to the preliminary design map and asked for clarity with regard to the scheme cycle provisions and the benefits of it.




Councillor Ian Auckland, as a signatory to the call-in, stated that the need to look at highway capacities used to be considered by the Planning and Highways Committee and this no longer seemed to be the case.  He was also aware of the concerns of cyclists using the area.




Councillor Rob Murphy, as a signatory to the call-in, stated that there appeared to be differences between the information in the report and what had already been said at the meeting. He asked how there could be no road widening, when it was planned to change from two lanes into three lanes, and also, he failed to see where there would be improvements to bus priority.




The following responses were given:-




·                     The Scheme aligns with the Transport Strategy which outlines that the Inner Ring Road is a critical part of the transport structure.  Movement is constrained from the east to the west of the city and a cumulative impact assessment has shown that changes to the Inner Ring Road need to be made to enable free movement across the city.




·                     It is clear that there would be an improvement in air quality levels due to traffic moving quicker through the area.




·                     Although there will be a potential loss of trees and grassed areas in the central reservation areas due to the construction of the additional traffic lanes, landscaping, including the planting of wildflowers, will take place in other areas of the site.




·                     The scheme aligns with the Transport Strategy by making best use of the space available and improving the efficiency of the junction operation at Corporation Street, Bridgehouses and Savile Street, by providing safe crossing for pedestrians and cyclists, and also improve the connectivity between the city centre and Kelham Island.




·                     Development of the Inner Ring Road is a critical factor to the Transport Strategy in ensuring that the transport system supports inclusive economic growth whilst also ensuring health and environmental sustainability, and reducing air pollution.  The Healthy Street scheme does not apply to the Inner Ring Road, it is more for suburban areas.




·                     The Upper Don Flood Defence junction is not affected in any way by the proposed scheme.




·                     Although the proposed scheme is predominantly funded by the City Council and Sheffield City Region, there is the possibility that some funding may become available through Transforming Cities.




·                     It is considered that the Scheme is robust, the impact and benefits of it have been accepted through the Business Case submitted.  The appraisal for the Clean Air Zone has not yet been signed off by the Government, the Council is still awaiting feedback.




·                     Whilst this section of the Inner Ring Road is only 10 years old, the proposals are for a short to medium term scheme, and the modelling shows that it will realise the benefits it has been designed to do for the required time period. The modelling also shows that the improvements to the network will continue to provide resilience beyond 2024 which would not be the case if the improvements do not take place. The Inner Ring Road area was unrecognisable compared to 10 years ago, due to the extent of development over that period.




·                     The Inner Ring Road has the greatest number of delays throughout the whole of the city and there has to be a scheme to improve this.  The West Bar area is undergoing significant redevelopment and if the scheme did not go ahead, it is envisaged there would be huge problems to Active Travel when development was completed.




·                     To change from two lanes to three, would be achieved by a  reduction in lane width to create three lanes.




Members stated that this scrutiny exercise had highlighted issues that were not in the report.  Officers have been asked to investigate connectivity from Kelham Island, cycle lane improvements and use of Community Infrastructure Levy.  Councillor Jack Scott said that he would produce a monitoring and evaluation plan approximately 12 to 18 months post scheme completion for the Committee to reflect upon and provide an updated note on the issues that had been raised, and items of interest and would make sure that the note was available in the public domain.




RESOLVED: That the Committee:-




(a)       notes the contents of the report now submitted, together with the comments now made and the responses to the questions raised; and




(b)       agrees to take no action in relation to the called-in decision, but requests that the Cabinet Member for Transport and Development supply the Air Quality modelling to the Committee once it has been certified accurate by Government; produces scheme outcome monitoring information on this scheme and presents it to the Committee, as well as make available to the Committee on an annual basis, monitoring and evaluation for all transport infrastructure schemes.


Supporting documents: