Andrew Loosemore (Head of Highways Asset Management) and Robin Hadley (Soft Landscape Asset Manager) were in attendance for this item.
1. Mr Brazier introduced the proposed decision and gave an overview of its purpose and scope. He highlighted Kent’s highly wooded topography as well as the need to keep its roads safe and accessible. He confirmed that the proposed decision sought a two-lot (east and west) approach to contracting emergency tree works. Mr Loosemore added that the contract formed a business-as-usual provision and gave KCC 24/7 access to emergency tree surgeons, the success of the previous approach and contracts was noted. Mr Hadley informed members that the use of contracted emergency tree surgeons had increased in recent years, due to an increase in extreme weather events.
2. Mr Baldock asked what consideration had been given to geography when establishing east and west lots as the preferred arrangement. Mr Hadley stated that the preferred option represented the most appropriated division, based on the demand in each district and geographic grouping, he noted further that demands and challenges differed from district to district. Mr Hadley confirmed that split analysis had been carried out.
3. Following a question from Mr Collor, Mr Hadley confirmed that clearance of sign obstructing overgrowth was under the rural swathe contract rather than emergency work.
4. Mr Hadley clarified the process for emergency tree works, which first involved a KCC steward attending the reported site, followed by an emergency tree surgeon within 2 hours. He noted that trees which were not considered an imminent danger were programmed separately.
5. Mr Lewis proposed, and Mr Baldock seconded a motion that: “That the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee recommend that the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport consider Option 1 (to split the contract into three lots (West, Mid and East)), as outlined in the decision report.”
6. Members voted on the motion. The motion was lost.
7. Mr Lewis, Ms Dawkins and Mr Baldock abstained on the motion to endorse the proposed Cabinet Member decision.
RESOLVED to endorse the proposed decision of the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport to provide the Corporate Director for Growth, Environment and Transport with delegated authority to procure and enter into appropriate contractual arrangements for the provision of Emergency Tree Works, including any potential extension periods in accordance with the expectations set out in the report as shown in the Proposed Record of Decision.