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President update: 28th February 2022

28 February 2022

While much of the world is rightly focused on the situation in Ukraine, closer to home we have come to the end of all formal Covid-19 restrictions. This is not the same as being the end of the pandemic, so we will all be discovering what living with coronavirus means. Of course, for local authorities, this also marks the end of Covid-related funding support, so many of our colleagues in public health will be focused now only on the most vulnerable in our communities.

Post-covid recovery is particularly acute for our bus services, which as we know are not returning to pre-pandemic levels. We continue to raise the importance of this issue with DfT colleagues, who attended our most recent Leadership Team meeting. We cannot afford to lose essential bus services, especially in our rural and coastal areas. At that meeting, we also discussed updating Local Transport Plans and emphasised ADEPT’s view that local authorities need to be able to integrate LTPs with the Levelling Up Strategy as well as decarbonisation and tackling climate change. Essentially, we need integrated strategies for place. 

We have published a TOPAS (Traffic Open Products and Specifications) briefing note and procurement guide this month which is available here. In addition, we have also published the ADEPT response to revised second national infrastructure assessment baseline report.

Sticking with highways, ADEPT has entered into a partnership with Highways News. We will be a regular contributor to their essential weekly podcast, Highways Voices, along with the Transport Technology Forum, Local Council Roads Innovation Group and the UK’s Intelligent Transport Systems industry. Don’t forget we also contribute monthly articles to Highways Magazine

We’ve had a number of guests at our recent Leadership Team meetings. We were fortunate to welcome Tom Walker on his last day as Director of the Levelling Up Taskforce in DLUHC, who together with colleagues gave us some insight into the recent White Paper. We have also welcomed CIPFA Chief Executive, Rob Whiteman, and discussed further opportunities for closer collaboration between our two organisations.

Our next Lunch and Learn on 25th March will be hosted by corporate partners, Anthony Collins Solicitors. The session will discuss the key principles of the Environment Act 2021 and how it will interface with planning law and policy. Book your free place here.

Carbon reporting is one of the most pressing challenges for local authorities. As a result, ADEPT and the Future Highways Research Group will shortly be publishing Guidance for the Application of GHG Scope 1 & 2 in Local Highways Authorities. The Guidance, which is sponsored by Ringway and Atkins, will provide LHAs with a framework and toolkit for the consistent measuring and reporting of Scope 1 and 2 emissions, enabling comparative benchmarking. The FHRG, led by Proving Services, is now working on similar guidance for Scope 3 emissions. Keep an eye on the ADEPT website for news. 

Our February Live Labs blogs are from Kent and Central Bedfordshire. Kent’s Carol Valentine talks about her teams’ experience of Live Labs and the journey they have been on so far, including their HADMS (Highways Asset Digital Management System) data platform, which keeps track of compliance and performance. Find out more here. Over in Central Bedfordshire, Jack Bowers gets us thinking about the sun, which is a pleasant antidote to all the recent stormy weather! The Solar Road trial uses photovoltaic road surfacing to generate electricity. Read more here.

Finally, booking is open for the ADEPT Spring Conference, ‘Levelling Up Locally’, which will take place in London at County Hall and the Presidential Awards Dinner at One Whitehall, both on 26th May. It will be an invaluable opportunity to explore what levelling up means for place directors and celebrate our achievements in person, so please book now to avoid disappointment!

Please continue to check the ADEPT website for news and updates. It’s where we publish a whole range of guidance and documents to support members.