Purpose of the report: Policy Development and Review
We have revised the Asset Management Strategy (Annex 1) for the service in accordance with best practice and are asking that the Economic Prosperity, Environment and Highways Board endorse the strategy and commend to Cabinet for approval.
Amanda Richards, Network & Asset Management Group Manager
Jason Russell, Assistant Director Environment and Infrastructure
Key points raised during the discussions:
1. Prior to introducing the report the Assistant Director of Environment and Infrastructure updated the Board on the changes to the highways management team. It was agreed for a note explaining the changes in further detail to be emailed to the board.
2. Officers explained to the Board the purpose of the Asset Management Strategy (AMS) was to ensure that assets are managed in the most cost effective way and to maximise the level of grant funding the service received from the Department of Transport (DfT). Surrey is currently rated as Band 2, if Surrey remained at Band 2 we could lose funding however officers are confident we will advance to Band 3 by 2017.
3. Members queried assumptions in the report around potential funding and in particular the ‘pothole action fund’. The Network & Asset Management Group Manager stated that historically the service performed well in competition funds and was confident that the maximum contribution could be achieved. The Assistant Director Environment and Infrastructure further explained that the service had to plan with assumptions in mind.
4. Members requested further clarification regarding the table on page 50 of the AMS, in particular to what the percentages represented and from what period. The Chairman proposed a revision to the table to ensure readers can differentiate the percentage difference between 2009 and 2015. Following this, the Board was informed that dashboard data can be provided in relation to customer satisfaction.
5. The Chairman congratulated officers on the development of the strategy.
6. A Member of the Board referred to the modelling tools on page 53, paragraph 2.3 and asked whether the modelling tools took into account things that can happen as a result of phenomena such as flash flooding. The Network & Asset Management Group Manager explained that the same modelling theories were used and in particular modelling on wet spots was undertaken.
7. Members questioned the methodology for defining roads and queried why certain roads were classified as they were even if they were classified incorrectly. Officers informed the Board that the service prioritises roads for treatment based on the Surrey Priority Network which looked at the priorities surrounding the road, including traffic levels, proximity to school, hospitals etc and ranking them accordingly from SPN1 to 4b regardless of their ABCD classifications.
8. There was a discussion around what kind of roads would fall in the ‘aesthetically impaired’ category and whether this type of road condition affected cyclists as well as road users. Officers explained that although ‘aesthetically impaired’ roads were grouped together they all had the different issues and varied from one another.
9. Members queried what criterion was required for a traffic system to be classified as obsolete. Officers described traffic systems to have the shortest lifespan and issues such as technological issue with the system could classify it as obsolete. Officers gave the Board encouragement that when funding was realigned it would be used more proactively, rather than repairing assets when they had deteriorated. In carrying out this task Officers informed the Board that traffic system data was recorded and monitored.
10. The Board questioned why the business plan was included in the agenda pack and who the intended audience was. The Assistant Director Environment and Infrastructure explained that the business plan gave context to the strategy and sets out the services priorities over the next 5 years. Furthermore, Officers advised the Board that the primary audience was Members and invited feedback to ensure the plan was publicly accessible going forward. The Chairman asked for board members to email the Assistant Director Environment and Infrastructure directly with any comments they have regarding the strategy, copying in the Scrutiny Officer and Cabinet Member for Highways, Transport and Flooding.
11. Officers explained that in an event of an emergency there would have to be a revision of the budget and planning for our assets to manage the situation in hand. In these circumstances additional funding would be sought after too.
The Economic Prosperity, Environment and Highways board endorsed and agreed;