Agenda and draft minutes

Joint Transportation Board - Tuesday 20 September 2022 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Centre. View directions

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No. Item


Apologies for Absence.


Apologies for absence were recorded on behalf of Mr. Kite MBE and Mrs Cole representing Kent County Council and Dartford Borough Councillors S P Butterfill, A J Oakley-Dow and Mrs Julie J A Ozog (Sub. Cllr. R Currans).


In the absence of the Chairman, Councillor B Garden assumed control of the proceedings and welcomed Board Members to the meeting.


He thanked Mr Shane Hymers (KCC Transport Manager) and Lukman Agboola (DBC Principal Transport Planner) for attending, and advised that Mr Kevin Gore (KCC District Manager) was also expected to present the KCC Update report [agenda Item 11 ‘To-Follow’ doc. refers].



Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of the Grant of Dispensation (if any).


There were no declarations of interest.


To confirm the Minutes of the meeting of the Dartford Joint Transportation Board held on 7 June 2022 pdf icon PDF 116 KB




1.     That the minutes of the meeting held on 7 June 2022 be confirmed as accurate.


Urgent Items

The Chairman will announce his decision as to whether there are any urgent items and their position on the agenda.


The Chairman confirmed that there were no urgent items for the Board to consider.


References from other Committees (if any)


There were no references from other Committees for the Board to consider.


Chairman's Update


The Acting Chairman advised that he had no matters to bring to Members’ attention.


National Highways Update

To receive a verbal update from National Highways and DBC officers.


The Board received a PowerPoint presentation [via Zoom] from Mr Nishan Weeratunge, Senior Project Manager, Connect Plus Services on behalf of National Highways, which outlined proposed improvement works to increase traffic-flow at Junction 1A of the M25.


Members were informed that during the proposed works Junction 1A would be closed to traffic during the hours of 10 p.m. – 5 a.m. with any variances to those standard closure times published on the National Highways website, which the public were encouraged to check before travel. If Junction 1A was experiencing particularly high levels of traffic immediately prior to a planned closure, the works would be delayed for an hour or so or deferred and re-scheduled for another night on a discretionary basis. The presentation contained indicative diagrams of the current lane structure at Junction 1A, the temporary lane measures to be put into force during the works, and the final lane design [see Annex A].


In response to subsequent questions and expressions of concern from Members, Mr Weeratunge confirmed the following points:


·       North-bound traffic would be expanded to 4 lanes, South-bound traffic would remain at 3 lanes with 2 lanes for onward traffic and 1 dedicated left-turn lane;

·       A traffic order was proposed for ‘no left-turn’ in the 2 straight ahead lanes to stop traffic using them to progress nearer to the dedicated left-turn lane then cutting across it, causing disruption, blockage and increased tail-back;

·       He undertook to enquire whether a temporary concrete barrier would be placed between the 2 onward lanes and the dedicated left-turn lane as advocated by some Members to stop mis-use. Also to ensure that the warning notice designating the lane allocations was placed at a sufficient distance on the approach road to Junction 1A to give motorists sufficient warning of the approaching lane demarcations;

·       Post implementation of the proposed works a Road Safety Audit Stage 3 would be undertaken by National Highways, to assess the impact of the works undertaken and implement any audit recommendations as appropriate;

·       He also noted a Member’s concern that temporary concrete barriers [during ongoing roadworks] could hamper the recovery of vehicles, and undertook to confirm whether vehicle recovery protocols applied to the Dartford Tunnel, and the QE II Bridge and its approaches.


The Principal Transport Planner (PTP) advised the Board that the proposed works at Junction 1A were an interim solution, which formed part of wider measures being considered and taken forward with KCC and National Highways.


In answer to a final question regarding the cost of the proposed works, the PTP advised that Section 106 contributions were being used to undertake the ongoing feasibility study to identify medium to long–term measures to address the traffic congestion at the A282 Junction 1A. Costs for the ongoing interim works at Junction 1A would be met by National Highways.   


Public Transport Update

To receive a report from Mr Shane Hymers, KCC.


The Board received a wide-ranging verbal update from Mr Shane Hymers, KCC Transport Manager.


Fastrack Services


Members were advised that Fastrack services had recovered to pre-COVID levels, the first regional bus service to do so in England, and had been nominated for a national award as a consequence. At present, Fastrack provided 42% of local journeys made in Dartford and Gravesham.


The current Fastrack contract with Arriva was due to end by 31 March 2023 and KCC were in the process of letting a new tender for Fastrack services to commence in the ensuing 2023-24 fiscal cycle for a period of 15 (fifteen) years, with a break clause to cover inadequate performance. Seven (7) bids had been received to date [including from the current operator Arriva], with 5 bidders invited to tender, two of which were London-based companies. Arriva would continue to operate the current Fastrack services until the new contract was awarded, with a current implementation date of January 2024. 


The new Fastrack service would be electrified with the new operator purchasing the vehicles aided by Government grants. On-street charging arrangements for the new electric fleet would run parallel to the new Fastrack tender process. KCC would purchase the street charging equipment with the aid of a Government grant and employ a competitive tender process to ensure a value for money (VfM) purchase of electricity. 


It was proposed to site the new electrical charging equipment at the Gravesend Bus Hub and near to Acacia Hall by October 2023, rather than the present Fastrack bus stops outside the Civic Centre at the Home Gardens roundabout. National Grid agreement had been obtained for both a Dartford and Gravesend Fastrack charging hub, with Pantograph charging employed (as was the case at Bexley Heath Bus Garage) to ensure 24x7 running. The fare structure for the new electrified Fastrack fleet would reflect the better quality vehicles, but it was hoped would be less expensive than routes run by other operators, who currently provided 58% of non-Fastrack journeys in the Dartford and Gravesend area. Proposed fare reductions for the Fastrack routes would now be introduced in January 2024 [rather than January 2023], based on costs of 66p per kilowatt hour for renewable energy, not the previously mis-quoted 16p per kWh. However, that costing would still be cheaper and more eco-friendly than using diesel fuel.


In response to subsequent questions from Members, the KCC Transport Manager and the Principal Transport Planner confirmed the following points:


·       Fastrack B would be retained with the present route split at Dartford to take in the new Temple Hill C loop. The route effectively remained the same, but the Temple Hill C loop increased vehicle availability and therefore reliability;

·       Arriva’s current performance for Fastrack B was poor, but several factors were outside the company’s control. Driver abuse continued with consequent effects on both staff morale and retention. Vehicle breakdown had improved and services were now running at 71% but still significantly below the 98% contract standard;

·       After completion of the Bluewater  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.


Lower Thames Crossing Update

To receive an update from the Council’s Principal Transport Planner.


The Principal Transport Planner (PTP) advised the Board that following submission of the Government’s preferred proposal to the Planning Authority, other local authorities continued to raise concerns over the project, but Council Officers continued to highlight Dartford Borough Council’s support of the Government’s proposals. It was now expected that National Highways were likely to submit their revised Development Consent Order to the Planning Inspectorate for the project towards the end of the last quarter of 2022.


The PTP also reported that a fifth ‘Local Refinement’ public consultation on the project had closed in June 2022, but should the scheme go ahead, it was unlikely to become operational before 2029/30 at the earliest. In the interim, Dartford Council would continue to work with National Highways on assessments relating to Health & Equality Impacts and the Statement of Common Ground, to ensure that all relevant issues were addressed, prior to works commencing.


Minor Parking Schemes in the Borough of Dartford

To receive a verbal update from the Council’s Principal Transport Planner.


The Principal Transport Planner informed the Board that 8 (eight) sites had been identified in Ingress Park for inclusion in the minor parking scheme, with the statutory public consultation exercise due to be progressed in October 2022. If no significant objections were received by the Council, implementation of the double yellow line restrictions would take approximately 3 (three) months to complete.


Proposed parking measures for Lower Hythe Street and Lowfield Street were due to go to Cabinet for consideration later in September, and would also be subject to the required statutory consultation if approved.


KCC Update pdf icon PDF 232 KB

To receive an update from Mr Kevin Gore, KCC District Manager.


In the unexpected absence of the KCC District Manager to present his report, the Acting Chairman asked Members to consider the material [submitted as a ‘To-Follow’ report post agenda publication], and submit any questions or areas of major concern they might have to the Board Clerk, who would relay them to Kevin Gore at KCC for an appropriate response.


Members' Enquiry Items


The Acting Chairman reminded Members that minor and non-urgent traffic and road issues should be pursued by Ward Members directly with KCC. If those issues remained unresolved after say 3 months, matters would be pursued at the JTB level.


It was noted that a KCC response concerning the maintenance of Street Planters remained outstanding.  


KCC - Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee pdf icon PDF 1 MB

The following has been attached for Members information: -


§    Environment, Highways and Waste Cabinet Committee – Minutes for 6 July 2022.



NB: If a Member wishes to discuss any of these items at the meeting, please advise the Member Services Section (01322) 343276 prior to the meeting.


The Board noted the minutes of the KCC Environment & Transport Cabinet Committee held on 6 July 2022.


In particular, discussion concerning KCC’s allocation of BSIP (Bus Services Improvement Plan) funding [Min. No 91 refers], and the KCC Supported Bus Funding Review [Min. No. 92 refers].


The possible impact for West Dartford residents of the Transport for London Consultation on the proposed Extension of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone and Road User Charging [Min. No. 95 refers], was also noted. The Principal Transport Planner (PTP) advised that DBC had not made any representations to TfL but that KCC would make a joint response.


The KCC Transport Manager and the PTP also advised that APNR monitoring of Junction 1B had been identified, but as yet it was not clear whether KCC or National Highways staff would undertake such monitoring, and the issue of any subsequent fines for Yellow Box Junction and other infractions of the Highway Code, also remained to be agreed.