Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport and Waste
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
Proposed decision: Adoption of a definition of Kent’s Resilient Highway Network, as part of a wider approach to Highways Asset Management and to maximise Incentive Fund resource.
Changes to Department for Transport (DfT) rules for funding highway maintenance have been introduced through its Incentive Fund to encourage local authorities to embed the use of asset management techniques into their management of highway maintenance and decision making around funding and priorities. The main aim of the asset management approach being encouraged by DfT is to use appropriate levels of information to clearly link investment decisions with an understanding of what that means in terms of outcomes. An increasing proportion of DfT maintenance funding provided to the County Council will be based on its ability to evidence that it has fully adopted the use of asset management methodology. If it does not, and not progress to the highest rating, Band 3, it will receive £4.6m less in capital funding in each year from 2018/19.
Incentive Fund ratings are based on an annual self-assessment questionnaire containing 22 questions covering asset management, resilience, customers, operational delivery, benchmarking and efficiency.
Resilience is high on the DfT’s agenda. The severe winter weather of 2013/14 had a major impact on transport systems, including local roads, which in some parts of the country were flooded for prolonged periods. As a consequence of this disruption, the Secretary of State for Transport commissioned a Transport Resilience Review, which was published in July 2014.
The Incentive Fund acknowledges that resilience is a key component of highways asset management through three related questions. Two of these relate to the implementation of the 2012 Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP) Potholes Review and HMEP Guidance on the Management of the Highway Drainage Asset, which Kent has already implemented. The remaining question requires local authorities to review and define their Resilient Network. Kent County Council needs to agree and publish a document that defines its Resilient Highway Network, so that it informs decision making and enables asset managers to prioritise existing resource in 2018/19 and beyond.
How the proposed decision meets the objectives of ‘Increasing Opportunities, Improving Outcomes: Defining a Resilient Network and prioritising existing capital resource in that key part of the overall network will enable Kent to evidence a Band 3 Incentive Fund rating and maximise DfT capital funding. Retaining this funding and continuing to implement the highway asset management strategy contributes to the Council’s day to day management of highway maintenance and therefore plays a vital part in delivering ‘Our Vision in Kent’ County Council’s Strategic Statement Increasing Opportunities, Improving Outcomes.
As Cabinet Member for Planning, Highways, Transport & Waste, I agree to adopt a definition of Kent’s Resilient Highway Network, as part of our wider approach to Highways Asset Management and to maximise Incentive Fund resource.
Publication date: 11/10/2017
Date of decision: 11/10/2017
Effective from: 19/10/2017