Agenda item


A presentation on Highways Long Term Planning will be presented to the Select Committee.


Declarations of interest: None




Jason Russell, Assistant Director for Highways

John Furey, Cabinet Member for Transport, Highways and Environment



Key points raised during the discussion:


1.    A presentation was given to Members of the Committee by the Assistant Director who explained the current challenges highways faced; the timescales for projects to be completed and the key areas the Service would focus on. The Assistant Director proposed for a Member reference group which would focus on highways for the future to be set up. The Assistant Director explained that since 2009 the Service had reduced costs by 15% and would have the first break point in the Kier contract in 2017.


2.    The Assistant Director explained that a review of how we deal with the resilience of the highway infrastructure would be reviewed in April 2014. Questions around how we can make the infrastructure more resilient and how we manage serious events would be considered.


3.    Members of the Committee questioned whether the Service had begun bidding for Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP’s) funding. The Assistant Director explained that funding would be secured if the delivery of schemes put forward by Surrey were effective. Work is currently being done on putting bids in place. The Service is ensuring that lessons leant from Project Horizon are considered.


4.    Some Members of the Committee praised the work done by Kier and raised concerns around procuring for another contractor. The Assistant Director recognised the good work done by Kier but explained that the council had expectations that would need to be met before a contract extension is considered.


5.    Members asked for more information around the contract process and how this would pan out over the next year. The Assistant Director explained that the Service would monitor current performance against key performance indicators and then consider whether a contract should be extended. It was explained that it was essential for Kier to evolve with the Service in order to produce success. It was recognised that the recent severe weather had impacted upon Kier but they were committed to working with the Service.


6.    It was stated that there would be an annual review of Project Horizon. Rather than looking at making changes to the programme, the review would focus on where improvements could be made. Concerns around any roads concerning Project Horizon would need to be taken to Local Committees for consideration.


7.    Concerns around changes to personnel in the highways team were raised. The Assistant Director explained that a people strategy focusing on skills for the future would be introduced. The Service planned to continue developing the skills of employees but recognised there was an issue around staff retention in area teams. 


8.    A Member of the Committee asked whether Councillors who have been affected by flooding would be included in the flood forum. The Chairman explained that he had been asked by the Leader to establish a task group which would include various Councillors affected by the floods. The Assistant Director added that the funds from the Bellwin scheme would not cover costs of anything that was a statutory duty but the Department for Transport had made an increase to the block grant.


9.    Concerns were raised around whether bids for funding had been placed and the lack of urgency there seemed to be. The Assistant Director stated that the team was acting with urgency to get plans in place. The Cabinet Member for Transport, Highways and Environment explained that lessons had been learnt from last year and would require work from various officers with a final date of submission by September 2014. A figure of £157 million from the M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (M3 LEP) had been identified but would need clearance from the LEP before finalisation.


10.  A Member of the Committee raised concerns around highway information not being shared with councillors. The Cabinet Member for Transport, Highways and Environment recognised there was an issue with sharing data. Systems helping to increase this sharing of knowledge would be developed.


11.  The Committee agreed to setting up the flooding task group. The Chairman asked for nominations for the task group from Members of the Committee. The Chairman explained that both the Council Overview and Scrutiny (COSC) and Communities Select Committees would nominate a representative to sit on the task group ensuring the task group is politically balanced and represents areas that have been subject to the impacts of flooding. All local committee chairman would be invited to nominate those divisions which had been most severely impacted, with a view to the relevant members being invited to meet with the task group, together with two or three relevant people from their area.



Actions/further information to be provided: None.



Committee Next Steps: None.


Supporting documents: