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 Rural Swathe, Visibility and Hedge Maintenance including any potential extension periods in accordance with the expectations set out in the report.
The Council has a legal duty to keep roads and pavements clear of vegetation for safe passage of highway users. The main service areas comprise; rural grass cutting (swathe); visibility cutting at road junctions; maintenance of rural hedges owned by KCC and the managed maintenance of Conservation verges. Due to the specialised nature of the works a standalone specialist contract is required.
It is anticipated that the service will be provided across eleven districts in Kent, with Folkestone and Hythe District providing the service on behalf of KCC through third party contracts. Dover District Council, who also currently undertake this service, have indicated that they would not like to continue beyond the end of this contract term.
The proposed contract term is 5 years with the option to extend for a further 3 years. Any decision to extend the contract will be linked to performance and contract compliance.
To enable this delivery across the county the following lots are being sought:
•Lot 1 – Dartford, Gravesham, Sevenoaks, Tonbridge & Malling, and Tunbridge Wells
•Lot 2 – Maidstone and Ashford
•Lot 3 – Swale, Canterbury, Thanet and Dover
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;
Decision status: Recommendations Approved (subject to call-in)
Division affected: (All Division);
Notice of proposed decision first published: 23/08/2021
Decision due: Not before 21st Sep 2021 by Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport
Lead member: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport
Financial implications: It is expected that any new procurement and delivery model will present a price increase which reflects changes in market prices since the contract was let in 2017. A competitive procurement process will appoint the best value contractor from the tenders submitted. In addition to this any specification changes to improve biodiversity will also increase costs which are currently unfunded. An estimate of the respective cost increases are as follows: o Single Swathe with two Conservation cuts - £50K - £100K o Two Swathe with tiered Conservation cuts - £250k - £300K The revenue budget for this work is contained within Highways Asset Management. A Medium- Term Financial Plan(MTFP) pressure of £300k has been identified to allow for a change in specifications for 2022. The MTFP cycle is informally finalised during December each year and any funding will be dependent on the pressure of any prevailing budget gaps in the Councils finances and the MTPF being agreed.
Legal implications: The Council has a legal duty to keep roads and pavements clear of vegetation for safe passage of highway users. The award of any contracts will be in full compliance with all relevant procurement regulation.
Equalities implications: An Equalities Impact Assessment has been carried out and no implications have been identified at this early stage.