Agenda item

Environment and Transport 2024/25 Highways and Transportation Capital Programme and Works Programme.


The Committee considered a report of the Director of Environment and Transport, the purpose of which was to inform the Committee of the development of the Environment and Transport Department 2024/25 Highways and Transportation Capital Programme and Works Programme, both of which were appended to the report, and to seek its view prior to these Programmes being presented to the Cabinet for approval on 26 March 2024.  A copy of the report marked ‘Agenda Item 8’ is filed with these minutes.


Arising from discussion, the following points were made:


(i)               Members welcomed the recent announcement of Network North Funding (NNF) allocated by the Government.  An indicative allocation for the County Council of £238m under the Local Transport Fund (LTF) element of NNF had been announced which would be received over a period of 7 years beginning in 2025/26.  Members noted that this did not therefore form part of the current capital programme now presented for comment.

(ii)              The annual allocation of the LTF had not yet been confirmed.  The Department of Transport (DfT) had indicated that this would be back loaded (i.e. start low and increase year on year).  The Director suggested it would therefore be a while before substantial funding was received.  Full details were awaited, but indications were that the funding could be spent on a wide range of capital works.  Further guidance was expected by the end of March.

(iii)            In response to questions about how the back loading of funding might affect activity in the earlier years, the Director explained that larger projects had a long lead in time due to the level of preparation and planning needed.  It would therefore be possible to plan these scheme and contract at appropriate times in line with when funding would be received.  This would also become clearer when the annual allocations had been confirmed. 

(iv)            Low, static levels of funding in recent years had limited the amount of improvement and maintenance works carried out by the Department.  Members were pleased to hear that the NNF would allow for a more long-term approach to be taken.  The Director highlighted, however, that some context was required to manage expectations. The Department’s current capital budget for maintenance was £18m for 2024/25, and the additional NNF Road Resurfacing funding stream for maintenance would increase this next year by approximately £2.25m.  Whilst the funding would be welcome, it would not therefore address all the issues currently faced across the County’s road network.

(v)             The Department was required to develop a two year delivery plan for the LTF by the end of the year.  Officers were currently working on this and engagement with members, MPs and other stakeholders would take place as appropriate over the coming year.  The guidance expected later this month would provide more clarity on what could be included in the plan.

(vi)            Members welcomed the announcement by Government of a LTF for highways and transport capital improvements.  This would be aimed to support more small-scale improvements across the network.  The Director reported that if this came to fruition, along with the Road Resurfacing NNF, an improved capital program might be possible in future years.

(vii)          Funding would, if appropriate under the conditions of funding and where investigations highlighted possible schemes, be set aside to support flood alleviation work.  A significant amount of work had been undertaken in response to recent storms, like Storm Henk.  However, this was in addition to considerable work still in progress from ongoing section 19 investigations which related to past flooding events.  Investigations took time to resolve and would likely result in actions for the various flood risk management authorities including the County Council in its role as Highway Authority.  Some funding would therefore be allocated to deliver these.

(viii)         A Member questioned if funding would be targeted to more hard-wearing, longer-term repairs, noting that a lack of resources had meant more short-term fixes to the road network in recent years.  There were concerns that over time this had affected the overall standard of the network which now needed to be addressed.  The Director confirmed that this would be the planned approach and a holistic view of assets (highway, drainage and street lighting) would be taken. 

(ix)            Members commented on the deterioration of pavements and the need for some of the new funding to be targeted towards addressing this in future years, as well as roads.  It was acknowledged that a lack of resources had meant that minimal maintenance works to pavements and cycleways had been possible for some time. The NNF would help address this.

(x)             A Member questioned how the Department sought to ensure adequate section 106 developer contributions were secured from logistics developments given these would have a greater, long-term impact on roads due to HGVs travelling to and from such sites.  It was noted that the Highway Authority sought to include conditions that monitored the impact of the construction phase on the highway.  However, there was no mechanism for the Council to seek contributions for future general maintenance which had to be managed by the Council as business as usual within its normal maintenance budget.  Members noted that to seek more through the section 106 process would require a change in national policy.

(xi)            Members were pleased to hear that the Department was undertaking a review of its approach to pedestrian crossing requests.  The conclusions of this review would be shared with Members as appropriate.

The Lead Member for Highways and Transport commented that the additional NNF and potential LTF was to be welcomed. This would be targeted to address local highways issues, which would include pavements and cycleways.  There was some risk, however, regarding future years as a change in Government might result in changes being made to the fund and/or the levels of allocation. 




(a)  That the development of the Environment and Transport Department 2024/25 Highways and Transportation Capital Programme and Works Programme be noted;

(b)  That the comments now made be presented to the Cabinet at its meeting on 26 March 2024 for consideration.


Supporting documents: