To procure and delegate authority to the Director of Highways and Transportation to award and enter into appropriate contractual arrangements for the provision of Highway Weed Control 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; the control of weeds within hard surfaces; the control of invasive and injurious weeds such as Japanese Knotweed, Giant Hogweed and Ragwort; the management of invasive species such as oak processionary moth and brown tail moth. Due to the specialised nature of the works a standalone specialist contract is required. The current contract expires on March 31st, 2023.
Two weed treatments per year will be provided across twelve districts in Kent.
To enable this delivery across the county the following lots are being sought:
• Lot 1 - Dartford & Gravesham
• Lot 2 – Sevenoaks & Tonbridge & Malling
• Lot 3 – Maidstone & Tunbridge Wells
• Lot 4 – Ashford & Swale
• Lot 5 – Canterbury & Thanet
• Lot 6 – Folkestone & Hythe
Other Options Considered:
Option 1 – Do Nothing
Discounted as The Council has a legal duty to keep roads and pavements clear of vegetation for safe passage of highway users.
Option 2 – Deliver in House
Discounted as this is not a core service to the authority. Due to the limited period to apply weed control, the staff would not be utilised all year round and this is of specialist nature.
Option 3 – Procure one provider to deliver the county
Discounted as unlikely to access SME providers and fails to provide resilience throughout the county.
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Notice of proposed decision first published: 27/10/2022
Decision due: Not before 25th Nov 2022 by Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport
Lead member: Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport
Lead director: Haroona Chughtai
Department: Growth, Environment & Transport
The proposed decision will be considered at the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee on 8th November 2022.
Financial implications: It is expected that any new procurement and delivery model could present a price increase which reflects changes in market prices and inflation since the contracts were let in 2018. A competitive procurement process will appoint the best value contractor from the tenders submitted. The annual spend for the service including Japanese Knotweed will be in the region of £479k. Total spend over the contract duration of three years plus potential total of 24 months extension is estimated at £2.4m. As with previous contracts the work for the first weed treatment will be funded from the existing Soft Landscape budget, with the second treatment coming from any underspend in the Highways winter service. This approach was introduced in the 2017-2018 financial year. The Head of Highways is currently re-profiling highways revenue budgets to mitigate the pressure on budgets when there is no winter underspend.
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.