Agenda item

Agenda item


To consider a report by the Highways Asset and Risk Manager (copy attached) which presents to the committee the Council’s policy for maintaining unclassified roads along with the criteria and formula that will be applied for allocating and spending the additional funding allocated towards highways in the county.


10.10 – 11.00 a.m.




The Chair adjourned the meeting for two minutes to allow officers and Lead Members to join the meeting.


The Head of Highways and Environmental Services (HHES) guided members through the report (previously circulated). It was stressed to members that 44% of the road network observed in the authority was unclassified roads. Members were reminded that officers had continued to stress the need to invest more in the highways network. The HHES emphasised the key principle had always been to ensure that there was at least one good quality road serving any community. Members heard that at times other roads servicing a community may not be prioritised for improvement. Members were guided to the extracts from the Denbighshire Highways Code of Practice, detailing the criteria and approach to works.


The HHES stated there was two aspects to the highways work. He provided members with details of each, the first was the Capital Programme which was funds to repair to agreed roads in the authority. It was confirmed a report was to be presented to all MAG to agree the programme of works. The second aspect was the revenue funded in-house highways maintenance. Further context was provided to members on the resource available for the in-house maintenance team. In the authority there was 14 highways operatives employed, this number had reduced from previous years.


The Lead Member for Waste, Transport and the Environment felt the highways funding was extremely important and should be included within the Corporate Plan. It was the opinion of the Lead Member that the department was in a more positive position than at the start of the term. 


The Chair thanked the Lead Member and the officers for the report, he also noted the pressures on officers due to the difficult work. He stressed highway maintenance had been an increasing issue to try and resolve.


In response to Committee members’ questions the following details were provided by officers and the Lead Member:

·         Out of the allocated budget of £2.5mil for 2021/22, £800,000 had been allocated for surface dressing. Officers stated that the majority of the surface dressing had taken place on A and B road network. Re-surfacing on B roads was scheduled. Officers stated that 50% of the budget was allocated to 80% of the network. Officers stressed that the department was managing risk and busier roads carried a higher risk and required priority if needing repair.

·         £900k additional funding had been provided. An allocation of £450k had been made for rural roads. The works had been listed on the reserve list that officers had previously circulated to Member Area Groups (MAG’s).

·         Members heard that the inspection frequencies had changed. Town centres were done monthly; the remaining network was inspected every 4 months with rural roads inspected every 6 months. Once a pothole was identified to officers there was a policy to repair it within 10 days. In response to members questions the maximum time for a pothole to be repaired would therefore be six months and ten days.   However, if the pothole had been reported by a councillor, member of staff or the public ahead of the programmed inspection it would be repaired within 10 days of being reported.  Hence the importance of everybody reporting potholes as and when they came across one.

·         The HHES stated officers were always grateful and hopeful for extra funding. If funding was awarded for specific purposes it would have to be used for that reason. If funding was received it would be applied in year and the authority’s funding would be carried forward to the following year.

·         It was promoted that officers from the service or other areas of the council, reported any issues observed in their day to day jobs.

·         Officers confirmed if layby’s formed part of the adopted highway they should be maintained to the same standard as the highway.

·         Every rural road was inspected twice a year. Reference was made to a scanner, which was an external contract which used lasers to consider road condition. All A, B and half of C roads were inspected using this system.

·         Officers noted the significant issue of water on roads. Officers stressed the importance of clearing water to aid maintenance of the condition of the road.

·         It was confirmed that a small budget had been allocated to footways. Officers stated a low number of complaints had been received regarding the condition of footpaths.

·         Officers confirmed they would address members concerns in relation to matters within individual wards with members outside the meeting.


The Chair thanked the officers for the detailed responses to members concerns and questions. It was noted that highways maintenance was a difficult subject matter for all concerned.


The Committee:


Resolved: - subject to regard being given to the above observations and comments, that


(i)           it was satisfied that the correct approach to highway maintenance was being applied, insofar that the best alignment between the risk to users and the utilisation of available funding was being achieved;

(ii)          efforts should be made to encourage all councillors and employees to adopt and foster a ‘One Council’ corporate approach towards reporting problems or matters relating to the highways network; and

(iii)        an information report be circulated to Committee members on the condition and maintenance plans for laybys adjacent to the County’s highways network.



Supporting documents: