(1) Each year Highways and Transportation reviewed the Council’s Highways and Transportation Winter Service Policy and the operational plan that supported it in light of changes in national guidance and lessons learnt from the previous winter. The report set out proposed amendments following the review.
(2) As a result of three successive bad winters, national guidance had been issued by the Department for Transport and was detailed in the code of practice for highway authorities – Well Maintained Highways – Section 13 Winter Service. Much of the guidance provided had long been incorporated in the Highways and Transportation (H&T) winter service policy and plan. Additions to the policy were set out in the report. The allocated budget for winter service for 2012/13 was £3,237,704, £20,000 of which was allocated for the purchase of additional salt bins.
(3) The revisions to the winter service policy met the objectives of the Council’s medium term plan for 2014/15, Bold Steps for Kent. Working in partnership with other authorities contributed towards achieving a better service and value for money for Kent residents.
(4) Putting the citizen in control would be achieved by continuing to provide salt bags to parishes who requested them. Salt bins would be provided across the county and for the first time would be identified on a map on the Kent County Council website. Advice on how people in the Kent community could self help during winter conditions would also be included on the website, including road safety tips.
(5) Well Maintained Highways recommended that local authorities identified a minimum network that would be treated continuously for a period of six days in the event of a severe winter event. For Kent it had been identified as being the main strategic network, i.e. all A and B roads and some other locally important roads as identified in the highway network hierarchy. Essentially, they equated to the current primary routes minus the local roads and roads that go through estates etc. H&T would always endeavour to treat the entire primary network as identified in the policy but recognised that there might be times, as experienced in previous years, where it would be prudent to reduce the network as stated above to maintain salt levels and keep main roads in Kent moving as much as possible
(6) Additionally H&T had identified an Operational Winter Period which was October to April, and a Core Winter Period which was December to February and the stocks of salt needed during those periods to effectively treat the network in line with recommended resilience levels.
(7) In previous years good relationships had been established with the Highways Agency MAC Area 4 who managed the trunk roads and motorways in Kent. KCC shared two depots with the HA and there had been a reciprocal salt sharing arrangement for some time which had worked very well. Additionally there was an arrangement with Medway Council in respect of the weather forecast and treating areas on ... view the full minutes text for item 40