Report of the Chief Officer for Highways, Infrastructure Development and Waste (HIW/20/19) seeking approval of the County Road Highway Maintenance Capital Budget, including progress on 2019/20 schemes and proposals for the 2020/21 programmes, attached.
(Councillors Biederman, Connett, Dewhirst, Greenslade, Hannaford and Whitton attended remotely in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 and spoke to this item).
The Cabinet considered the Report of the Chief Officer for Highways, Infrastructure, Development and Waste (HIW/20/19), circulated prior to the meeting in accordance with regulation 7(4) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012.
The Report provided an update on progress on delivery of the 2019/20 Highways Capital programme and sought agreement of the programme for 2020/21. The approved Highway Infrastructure Asset Management Policy, Strategy and Plan (HIAMP) provided the framework and approach in deciding on the capital investment in the highway assets and was used in recommending programmes and schemes contained in the Report. Investment was required to arrest or slow deterioration and add value to highway assets, keeping them structurally sound and reducing the risks of defect formation.
Section 3 of the Report detailed the proposals for capital funding of highway maintenance schemes in 2020/21 and relevant funding sources.
The 2020/21 funding awarded to Devon from central Government was approved by Council on 20 February 2020, of £48,155,000. The Report sought approval to allocate the funding across the programmes and schemes proposed in 2020/21 as listed in appendices IV and V. The allocations include an adjustment for the LTP over programming carried forward from 2019/20 of £1,943,000.
The key elements of the programmes and schemes included Highway Structural Maintenance (HSM): Principal Roads (A class roads), Skid Resistance Treatment (SCRIM), HSM Non-Principal Roads, Pothole Action Fund (PAF), Footways, Drainage, Road Restraint Systems, Road Weather Systems, Highway Lighting and Street Lighting LED, Bridges and Structures and Storm Damage (resilience contingency).
The Report also highlighted the impact of the Coronavirus lockdown, in terms of contractors, material manufacturers and suppliers closing down, restrictive working, supply chains and quarries etc limiting the ability to maintain the delivery of the capital programme. Whilst there had been some deferments in the 2019/20 programme, the current programme could also be curtailed depending upon how long lockdown restrictions were applicable.
The Report also provided an update on each of the main asset groups and how they had been performing, showing that bridges continued to be well managed and that the Council was ensuring continued investment in retaining walls following storm damage events earlier in the year. There had also been good progress on the investment in street lighting infrastructure which contributed a massive reduction to the County’s carbon usage and brought year on year savings to energy costs.
The Report gave an update on the ‘Doing What Matters’ (DWM) project which continued to provide learning from the two test areas in West Devon. Following on from the successes within those areas, the DWM learning would be expanded into East Devon, with initial focus on the Broadclyst Division.
The Cabinet also noted that Government provided insufficient capital funding to meet all network maintenance needs. However, the proposed programme was designed to make the best use of the available financial resources using the Cabinet endorsed Asset Management approach.
An overview of the impact assessment entitled ‘2020/21 Budget Impact Assessment’ for all
service areas had been circulated separately and was available to all Members of the Council
The Cabinet Member for Highways Management also took the opportunity to respond to the Government’s recent announcement to boost cycling, walking and greener active transport via the active travel fund launched on 9 May 2020. Pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors would be created in England and Officers of the Council were looking at the detail of this to assess suitable schemes in Devon.
The matter having been debated and the alternatives and other relevant factors (e.g. financial, sustainability (including carbon impact), risk management, equality and legal considerations and Public Health impact) set out in the Chief Officer’s Report and/or referred to above having been considered:
it was MOVED by Councillor Hughes, SECONDED by Councillor Hart, and
(a) that the progress on 2019/20 capital funded highway maintenance schemes detailed in
Appendices II and III of the Report be noted;
(b) that the capital funded highway maintenance programmes for 2020/21, as set out in Appendices IV and V of the Report, be approved;
(c) that the detailed allocation of the available budget be determined by the Chief Officer
for Highways, Infrastructure Development and Waste, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Highway Management, on the basis of the Highways Infrastructure Asset Management Plan, and within the limits of the approved budget.
[NB: The Impact Assessment referred to above may be viewed alongside Minutes of this meeting and may also be available at: https://www.devon.gov.uk/impact/budget-2020-2021].