Report of the Chief Officer for Highways, Infrastructure, Development and Waste (HIW/20/23) on proposals for additional Highway Maintenance Capital Allocation 2020-21 (Pothole Fund), attached.
(Councillors Biederman, Connett, Dewhirst, Hannaford and Hook 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/20/23) on additional Highway Maintenance Capital Allocation 2020-21 (Pothole Fund) and proposals for its allocation in updated programmes, the Report having been 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 Cabinet Member for Highways Management highlighted that overall the funding had been increased by over 50%, making the current year’s allocation the largest annual investment in the road network.
The Report highlighted that in May 2020, the Cabinet (Report HIDW/20/19) approved the Highway Maintenance Capital Budget which identified the allocation of funding for the 2020/21 financial year. An updated version was shown in Table 1 and Table 2 (in section 5) and showed the anticipated financial profile, across 2020/21 and 2021/22, of the sum available. Appendices 1 and 2 detailed the revised budget heading allocations and financial year.
The Highway Infrastructure Asset Management Plan provided the relevant framework and key themes could also be added to reflect the current situation, such as increased structural damage to bridges, embankments and roads following the severe flooding during the winter and Covid-19 recovery and the emphasis on active travel modes.
The additional funding had been allocated across three broad categories: the A roads which were vital for transporting goods and services for the economy, the minor road network, where the largest proportion of the funding would be used for preventing potholes from forming and the bridges and structures, particularly highway embankments and retaining walls which had suffered from the extreme weather.
The Cabinet Member for Highways Management announced that since the Report had been written the Government had announced a further £5millions for the Council, to be spent specifically on the A380 between the Teign Viaduct and Ashcombe Cross.
He added it was a vast programme, particularly with current uncertainty and the approach was pragmatic and realistic. In addition, Covid 19 recovery was a key consideration, in particular, the shift in active travel to walking and cycling was underpinned with well maintained surfaces.
The Report highlighted the relevant Environmental Impact Considerations (Including Climate Change) and how maintenance work was undertaken to ensure that the effect on the surrounding environment was kept to a minimum. Also, that the maintenance of multi-use trails and infrastructure which facilitated sustainable travel had an important role by reducing the carbon emissions from transport by encouraging modal shift.
There was no specific impact assessment, however, the 2020/21 Budget Impact Assessment’ for all service areas was relevant and had been previously circulated to all Members of the Council at: https://www.devon.gov.uk/impact/budget-2020-2021.
In summary, the programmes for Highways and Bridges and Structures struck a balance between applying the approved Asset Management Strategy and Plan, considering the risks in the current pandemic and the uncertainty surrounding future funding sources.
The matter having been debated and the options and/or 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 increase to the Highways, Infrastructure Development and Waste capital programme by £24.249m million in 2020/21 and by £7.7 million in 2021/22, funded by external grants be approved;
(b) that the figure included in recommendation (a) includes £5 million in 2020/21 recently allocated by the DfT for the A380 Teign Viaduct to Ashcombe Cross Scheme be noted;
(c) that the updated capital funded highway maintenance programme as set out in Appendix 1 and 2 be approved;
(d) that 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: http://new.devon.gov.uk/impact/].