Issue details

22/00039 - County-wide pothole repair and patching programme

Proposed decision

The Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport is asked to approve the:

 

1.         proposed decision to fund an annual pothole and patching programme (Pothole Blitz) of £7m per annum totalling £21m over 3 years;

 

2.         delegation of authority to the Corporate Director of Growth Environment and Transport and the Corporate Director of Finance to agree funding mechanisms to support the programmes; and

 

3.         delegation of authority to the Director of Highways and Transportation to award and enter appropriate contractual arrangements for the provision of the Pothole and Patching programme (Pothole Blitz) contracts as shown at Appendix A.

 

Background

Highways and Transport has a duty to ensure the effective discharge of the Council’s statutory duties and powers as Local Transport & Highway Authority, in particular its duty of care to help ensure safe passage for all road users. DfT has reduced the highways grant to KCC by £9m impacting the budget available for asset management of all highway’s assets, including an allocation for pothole and patching work. To ensure this work can continue, Members asked officers in Highways Asset Management and Corporate Finance to consider funding options to support a 3-year pothole programme without increasing the council’s financial borrowing commitments.

 

The pothole blitz programmes over recent years have proven to be successful in terms of delivering local highway repairs. This was in addition to the ongoing maintenance, major resurfacing and surface treatments programmes delivered in line with the authorities published approach to Asset Management

 

This additional work has contributed towards the reduction in customer pothole related enquires received over the past 5 years. The graph below details and highlights the lower numbers particularly over the winter period.

 

Additional capital grant funding for potholes received from DfT alongside additional KCC capital borrowing has enabled a Pothole Blitz programme to be delivered over the previous 2 financial years without adversely affecting any other highways asset capital budget.

 

The capital grant funding for highway maintenance has been reduced significantly by the DfT for 2022/23 and this will continue for the next 3 years. This 20% reduction amounts to £9m per annum and £27m over the 3-year period.

 

This has placed a pressure on the capital budgets for management and maintenance of highways assets. It was not possible to sustain funding for critical assets such as drainage, footways, structures, and highway inspectors repairs whilst also funding a Pothole Blitz campaign fully.

 

Officers were requested to examine options to facilitate the delivery of a pothole blitz campaign and without increasing in year capital borrowing.

 

This will most likely be achieved by a re-profiling of existing borrowing as the short-term funding route, however the full details of this are yet to be agreed by the relevant Corporate Directors.

 

Contract and Procurement

The existing pothole blitz contracts have been extended to deliver this year’s programme however this is the final allowable extension under the contract.

 

A commissioning and procurement exercise will be undertaken later this year and will seek to review the optimum number of contracts required to deliver the most efficient and effective future programmes of the pothole blitz.

 

Any alternatives considered

Reduce expenditure on pothole programme.

 

How the proposed decision meets the priority actions of Setting the Course: Kent County Council’s Interim Strategic Plan (December 2020)

A well-maintained highways network supports actions to ensure Kent’s homes and communities are well-connected and infrastructure supports Kent’s long-term growth.

Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;

Decision status: For Determination

Division affected: (All Division);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 12/04/2022

Decision due: Not before 11th May 2022 by Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport

Lead director: Philip Lightowler

Department: Growth, Environment & Transport

Contact: Andrew Loosemore, Head of Highway Asset Management Telephone: 03000 411652 Email: andrew.loosemore@kent.gov.uk Tel: 03000 411652.

Financial implications: - This is a 3-year programme. Funding for year 1 is £7m. - The intention is for further investment of £7m in financial years 2023/24 and 2024/25 - Funding options for the whole programme are being finalised either through re-prioritisation or re-scheduling within the existing capital programme or a revenue growth pressure

Legal implications: All relevant procurements will be carried out in full compliance with the mandatory rules and processes that must be complied with when spending money on behalf of the council

Equalities implications: There are no negative equalities impacts that could be reasonably anticipated from this decision.

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