London Borough of Bromley Highway Asset Working Group
Members of the Working Group
Councillor Peter Bloomfield Councillor Harry Stranger Councillor William Huntington-Thresher Councillor Ben Abbotts Nigel Davies, Assistant Director (Street Services) Patrick Phillips, Head of Parks and Recreation Paul Redman, Highway Asset Manager Garry Warner, Head of Highway Network Management
Terms of Reference
To review the current condition and investment in highways assets To consider priorities for future investment taking account of financial implications, resident’s views and maintenance issues. To consider any options that might be available that will help maintain the highway assets.
The budgets for maintaining highways assets must at least be kept at current levels and consideration should be made to increase them due to the deteriorating highway infrastructure. Recommended annual increases in budget to help address the backlog are: Carriageways/Footways £1million Street Lighting £300k (possibly funded by efficiencies in the new contract) Trees £382k (reducing to £182k after 5 yrs) Alternative funding options should be progressed where possible, including additional funding from TfL.
A programme of trialling alternative surface treatments for footways and carriageways should be implemented and the outcomes reported back to Members in Autumn 2007. A review should be undertaken of the use of recycled materials in highway works. Alternative maintenance regimes should be considered in the evaluation of the new street lighting contract and any savings should be re-invested in the renewal programme. The tree strategy should be agreed. The frequency of grass cutting of highway verges should not be changed from the existing levels.
4.1 The maintenance of highways assets including the condition of carriageway and footway surfaces, street lighting, trees and grass verges is one of the key ways in which the performance of the Council is judged by residents. It is also a valuable resource that needs to be properly maintained in order that the value does not depreciate. 4.2 In recent years investment has fallen, both through the budgetary pressures on the Council as a whole and the increasing costs of maintenance and materials relative to inflation. 4.3 The working party was set up through the Environment and Leisure PDS to consider the issues in more depth and to report back to the PDS and Portfolio Holder with recommendations for the future.
The Key Highways Assets – The Relationship between Condition and Investment 5 Street Lighting
5.1 The current street lighting stock comprises approximately 27,500 lighting columns. Routine maintenance of the lighting stock, such as planned bulk lamp changing and cleaning is funded from revenue budgets. However, columns that have become life expired need to be periodically replaced and this is funded from the Council's capital budget ( block provision ). Columns have different deterioration rates depending on their parent material (concrete, steel, aluminium, cast iron). The oldest and most vulnerable stock is targeted for replacement first. Currently selected concrete and older steel columns feature most highly in the replacement programme and these are up to
40 years old. Details of the street lighting inventory and column age profile can be found in Appendix, tables 1 and 2. 5.2 A snapshot of street lighting funding available during 2005/06 is illustrated in the table below :-
Year Revenue Maintenance Energy Total Revenue Capital Capital Schemes Total Revenue and Capital
2005/06 *£1,224,900 £874,568 £2,099,468 £685,000 £2,784,468
( Note -It is acknowledged there are significant annual revenue costs in respect of the street lighting stock, in particular energy costs and hence as part of this report targeted measures to explore reducing revenue expenditure will be reviewed in section 7 of this document). 5.3 A recent report ( ref ELS05374 ) submitted to 5th December 2005 meeting of the Environment Portfolio Holder described how the current annual capital budget ( block provision ) of £685,000 allows the Council to replace approximately 500 life expired lighting columns per year. However, the report also indicated that current investment levels are not allowing a sufficiently high replacement rate of lighting columns to be carried out, leading to a year on year accrual of life expired stock awaiting replacement. 5.4 A study commissioned through the Council's term consultant indicated that an improved replacement rate could be achieved with additional investment of £3.96m over an initial five year period. It was estimated this would remove the backlog of deteriorated and failing columns within a decade at which point the steady state would be achieved ( an extract of the study including the levels of service investigated and the cost of providing those levels of service can be found in Appendix 1 ). 5.5 If funding is not made available to remove the growing backlog of columns identified for replacement then the Council will need to supplement the current replacement programme with a developed strategy designed to mitigate against the possible risks associated with an ageing column stock. It is likely this would comprise routine targeted testing and investigation. The costs of testing etc would need to be borne from the replacement budget, thus further diminishing the resource available for putting up new columns.
Photo Electric Cells 5.6 Photo electric cells have become the accepted way of controlling street lighting, being inexpensive and reliable components. Currently it is standard to fit photo electric cells that switch on when lighting levels in the evening drop to 70 lux and off again in the morning when lighting levels reach 35 lux. These are 'historical' settings that take account of the time required for discharge lamps to reach their maximum output. Modern discharge lamps, especially those operated on electronic control gear, have a quicker 'run up period' and hence reach full output quicker. A combination of these and other factors may allow the switching levels of photo-electric cells to be re-considered. 5.7 As an estimate, if the switching levels were reduced to 35 lux on and 16 lux off then a saving of 200 hours could be achieved. The main benefits are savings in respect of energy and reduction in the chances of premature failure of the lamp at the end of group replacement changes. As lighting levels from street lighting are usually less than 10 lux, these proposals should not have any impact on public safety. This is viable and would represent an invest to save option, and could be installed on new schemes without additional costs. Illuminated signs 5.8 Many of the Council's illuminated traffic signs and illuminated traffic bollards are lit 24 hours per day. The introduction of small reliable electronic photo cells would provide a simple and economic means of switching these units so they are only illuminated at similar times to the street lighting. This is viable and would represent an invest to save option and could also be installed on new schemes without further costs. 5.9 The use of high reflective signs should be considered as an alternative to illuminated signs where legally permitted. Recent information from the Highways Agency indicates that Electro luminescence signs comply with the requirements of the traffic signs regulations and can therefore now go on general sale. The impact of this on Bromley's roads will be reviewed with Transportation Planning. Reduced lighting – Dimming 5.10 Reduced lighting ( including switching off ) and dimming can be a viable method of reducing energy costs and extending the life of lamps. Although the capital cost of dimming equipment is still high the current and projected costs of energy are starting to make the installation of this equipment a viable option. 5.11 It may prove to be unacceptable to adopt this procedure in all areas of the borough, in particular high useage areas such as town centres but it may be appropriate elsewhere. This would benefit from further review with a view to trialling an appropriate area, possibly a rural area in the borough.
Light Emitting Diodes 5.12 LED's have significantly longer life ( up to 100,000 hours ) than the widely used High intensity discharge lamps and hence could reduce costs throughout the maintenance cycle. They may have certain applications in respect of highway lighting where the benefits of unit longevity and low energy use could be exploited. Low power units have been used for illuminated road signs, although the technology does not exist to manufacture high power units suitable for street lighting. Industry has been canvassed on this matter and it is their view that these will become commercially available in the foreseeable future.
Footways and Carriageways
6.1 Footways and carriageways are, arguably, the most universally important resource owned by the Council. They are used on a daily basis by the vast majority of the community and commerce and in this respect, are probably unique when compared with most of the other services provided by this Council. 6.2 The footway and carriageway asset is of significant size. The Council, as Highway Authority, owns and maintains approximately 1370 Km of footway. Carriageways are a little more complex due to the funding arrangements that exist and hence a breakdown of the lengths of carriageway against the route classification is provided in the table below.
Route Classification Principal ( A )* Non-Principal ( B ) (C) Unclassified ( U ) Total
Length (Km ) 72.3 29.1 63.9 677.1 842.4
(Note - * Of which the TLRN and SRN comprise 32.6 Km and 23.6 Km respectively. Further information describing the TLRN and SRN is provided in appendix 2). 6.3 Bromley receives capital funding from Transport for London ( TfL ) to maintain all the Principal Road carriageways in the Borough (although this does not include the TLRN, which TfL maintain direct) but relies on revenue funding to maintain the Borough's B, C and Unclassified roads. The level of carriageway funding made available in 2005/06 is indicated in the table below
Route Classification Principal ( Borough maintained ) Non Principal ( B,C ) and Unclassified ( U )
Length (Km) 39.7 770.1
Funding (2005/06) £2.29m £1.29m
Funding Source TfL Capital LBB Revenue
6.4 Condition indicators are established through annual surveys of the Council's carriageway and footway network. The indicators allow a year on year comparison to be made between the level of investment and whether the asset condition is improving or diminishing. 6.5 Condition surveys of the Council's highway network have established the percentage of carriageways and footways that are likely to be in need of maintenance. The % values differ significantly depending which part of the network is under consideration, as can be seen below :Category Classified ‘A’ roads Classified ‘B’ and ‘C’ roads Unclassified roads Length (km) 72 94 677 Percentage likely to need maintenance 6% 6% 20% ( three year average )
6.6 Although 6% of Bromley's A, B and C roads are still likely to need maintenance this does place Bromley in the top quartile in London in respect of condition for these road categories. Availability of funding from TfL has contributed to an overall improving situation in respect of A road carriageway condition, whereas prioritised funding of the borough's B and C road stock has also improved condition. 6.7 A different picture is painted in respect of Unclassified roads. Current condition surveys indicate 20% of Bromley's unclassified roads are likely to need maintenance. Far from arresting any decline in highway condition, Bromley is experiencing an increase in decline in the condition of it's carriageway and footway asset on the unclassified road network. Bromley is placed in the bottom quartile in London in this road category. 6.8 Records indicate that the revenue budget available for carriageway and footway maintenance of the Council's B,C and Unclassified highway stock has declined from approximately £4.5m over a ten year period to a present day total of approximately £3.29m. ( This funding information, drawn from a recent report submitted to the Environment Portfolio Holder, report reference ELS06024 published last January has been replicated in Appendix 2. Further information provides contrasts between the level of available funding and industry recommended levels of spend. )
6.9 Table A in Appendix 2 demonstrates the decline in revenue budget over recent years but masks the negative impact inflation is having on the budget. Inflation within the construction sector has been high and, at 7%, greater than the often quoted consumer price index that has recent values of 2.5% or less. Hence the year on year 'buying power' of available revenue funding is a good deal less than the steadily declining figures (indicated in Table A) may suggest. 6.10 What does this mean in respect of backlog? Initial calculations estimate the cost of repairing unclassified roads (carriageways) already in a poor condition to be over £20m.
Maintenance Materials and Treatments
6.11 Conventional highway construction materials have evolved over the years to suit different types of carriageway and footway, based on usage and amenity area. Those materials currently in use include; Carriageways 6.12 Stone Mastic Asphalt (SMA) Surface Course – This modern durable material provides a smooth running surface for all vehicles, with the added benefit of reduced tyre noise and spray during wet weather, compared to HRA. This is usually used on classified roads where traffic volumes are high. The cost of resurfacing a road in SMA is £6-7 per sq.m, depending on road type, and the material has an expected life of 1015 years. 6.13 Dense Bituminous Macadam (DBM) Surface Course – DBM is a lower cost material for use in residential roads and other roads with low traffic levels. The cost of resurfacing a road in DBM is £5-6 per sq.m, depending on road type, and the material has an expected life of up to 25 years, depending on usage. 6.14 Dense Bituminous Macadam (DBM) Binder & Base Layers – These layers are used under the surface to give the road strength 6.16 Granular Sub-base – A layer of crushed rock, usually limestone, which provides a foundation for the carriageway of footway structure. Footways 6.17 Yorkstone Paving – Slabs of natural limestone. Although very durable, the cost at over £100 per square metre restricts its use to high amenity areas, such as town centres and conservation areas. 6.18 Artificial Stone Paving (ASP) – Concrete slabs designed to emulate natural stone paving. ASP has traditionally been used is residential areas, but can prove expensive
to maintain as it is easily damaged by over-running vehicles, causing trips. Typical cost to resurface a footway is £15 per square metre. 6.19 Modular / Block Paving – Small concrete slabs and blocks, which offer a more durable surface than ASP while retaining a natural appearance. This is the standard heavy duty paving used on principal traffic routes and other busy roads subject to vehicle damage. Reconstructing a footway in modular / block paving cost £30 per square metre. 6.20 Bituminous Footways – DBM is also an economical surfacing material for footways, providing a smooth durable surface resilient to vehicle damage, although not as pleasing aesthetically as ASP. The cost of resurfacing a DBM footway is £16 per square metre. Alternative Materials 6.21 A number of new maintenance materials and techniques have become available in recent years, some of which could help to mitigating the effects of diminishing budgets and high cost increases, others offer sustainability benefits. Although these may offer lower unit rates than conventional materials, they may not offer the same longevity. It may be necessary to consult residents, as these may not always be popular. 6.22 Surface Dressing - Involves applying a layer of hot bitumen and stone chippings to the surface of the carriageway. This treatment will extend the life of a structurally sound carriageway that has surface defects, by sealing the surface from water ingress and restoring resistance to skidding. 6.23 Although this is successfully used on the rural road network, it has not been popular in the past when used on urban and residential roads, due to the loose chippings inherent with the treatment. Recent improvements in materials and laying techniques have been shown to provided a suitable treatment in other urban areas. Likely treatment cost £2.00 per sq metre. 6.24 Micro-Asphalt – A mixture if cold bituminous materials and fine aggregate are spread over the surface of the carriageway. This treatment can be used on residential roads, to seal the surface from further deterioration and restore carriageway profiles, skid resistance and surface quality. The surface can appear a little uneven in it's early life, which may not be readily acceptable to residents. Likely treatment cost £3.00 per sq metre. 6.25 ’Nimpactocote’ – This is a 'veneer' surfacing system more suitable for lower trafficked estate roads. It can be used on roads that have structural integrity but that may not be suitable for other surface treatments. Likely treatment cost £4.50 per sq metre.
Recycled Materials 6.26 The Council is working closely with it's supply partners, to encourage the increased use of recycled aggregates in road works, and a Steering Group was established earlier this year with FM Conway; the current Major Works Contractor. Where suitable performance can be achieved, reduced use is made of virgin aggregates, less waste is taken to landfill sites for disposal, and less lorry movements are required within the Borough. A number of initiative are being considered for future use, including; 6.27 Insitu- recycling – Where a carriageway is no longer suitable for resurfacing, more expensive strengthening or reconstruction works become necessary. Rather than replacing the road with new materials, insitu recycling of flexible carriageways allows the existing materials to be broken-up and mixed with bitumen and re-used as a binder / base layer. The carriageway is finished off with an appropriate surface course. Likely treatment cost from £9.00 per sq metre. 6.28 ‘Foam-mix’ – If strengthening or reconstruction works are required in residential roads, the existing bituminous materials can be taken off-site, crushed and used as aggregate in a cold mixed DBM type material. This can be used as a base / binder layer. The likely cost is similar to conventional DBM materials. 6.29 Recycled Concrete - The Steering Group are also investigating the use of crushed concrete as an aggregate for new concrete materials. FM Conway has the capacity to crush concrete at it's depot in Dartford, where the crushed material will be incorporated as graded aggregate into a 'non structural' mix together with finer aggregates recycled from gulley waste. The materials can be used in new reinforced concrete carriageways, as well as concrete mixes for kerb foundations and footway works. 6.30 Granular Sub-base – Concrete removed from road works or demolition sites can also be crushed and graded for use in the foundations of carriageway and footway reconstruction schemes. 6.31 Another area identified for review concerns treatment of excavated materials. Although FM Conway could be seen as frontrunners in the realms of recycling, there is difficulty in using the high volumes of clay contaminated material that are excavated from Bromley's footways. A good deal of this material has to be sent to landfill which is expensive and involves significant lorry movements. 6.32 A technique has been identified for trial that may help reduce the level of waste material and consequential lorry movements. The technique is clay stabilisation, which mixes the clay with lime and cement to produce a material suitable for use in footway foundations. A site will be chosen in due course and a trial undertaken.
7.1 Grass verge cutting is carried out under contract to approximately 1800 separate locations. The policy in Bromley has significantly altered over recent years. The table below sets out for Member information, how this cutting frequency has changed over time, and the current arrangement in force: Pre 1974 Post 1974 Post 1995 Post 1997 Post 2003 32 verge cuts 16 verge cuts 13 verge cuts 10 verge cuts 13 verge cuts
The last change was in 2003, when a record number of complaints were received about the then policy of 10 cuts per annum, which was the lowest of any London Borough. At that time the London average was 15.7 cuts per annum 7.2 Public complaint is received generally because: The timespan between cutting (up to 4 weeks on verges) appears unacceptable to residents who on average will cut their own lawns between 30 and 35 times a year The resulting mess of grass clippings and poor appearance of cutting, contributes to an uncared for street scene. Long term damage to grass areas generally is evident by increased proliferation of weed and broad-leafed grasses. An increase in indifference by residents/contractors, who allow vehicle damage to the verges and building material deposition that similarly creates a mowing hazard.
The analysis of that complaint over recent seasons indicates that the highest criticism is over the policy itself, followed to a much lesser degree by operational failure. . 7.3 The current costs of adding extra cuts are set out below based on what additional resources would be required to improve the status of the Borough's verges and are based on the notional current (November 2006) contractual average of the four principle contracts : HIGHWAY VERGES (Flat areas) 1 cut £21,000 3 cuts £64,800 5 cuts £108,000
7.4 The general grounds maintenance contracts including Highway works are to be retendered in 2007 and officers are looking at the most efficient and economically advantageous methods of delivery. A full report is being made to the Environment and Leisure PDS. 7.5 As part of that tendering process, it is suggested that in addition to the traditional frequency (input) based specification - an Output based contract be explored (where a height is specified for the grass not to exceed). Similarly through a reviewed documentation attempts to minimise the miss-match in timing between the grass mowing operation and the follow up strimming around obstacles will be investigated. 7.6 A current and informed opinion against varying cost options can be made when this process is tested and evaluated.
8.1 Bromley is London’s leafiest Borough comprising of 35,000 highway trees that have cultural, economic and social benefits to the people that live and work here. This document highlights the fact that because of the current resource allocation and large number of highway trees there is currently no option but to effectively prune on an average cyclical frequency approaching every 26 years. This in effect is not a pruning cycle at all and has led to the Borough spending excessive amounts annually on adhoc reactive safety and insurance works, coupled with an annual increase in customer dissatisfaction with the service. 8.2 A continued lack of routine maintenance has led to: 115k of outstanding reactive maintenance works. Disproportionate budget allocation to reactive works. 10,000 customer enquiries annually. 500k spent over last 3 years on upheld subsidence claims. Increase in insurance premium by 22% over the last five years Increased incidence and cost of root pruning
Management actions to improve the service within existing budgets have included: Re-introduction of Routine Maintenance through additional funding. Re-introduction of a street tree-planting programme from April 2004. IT Advancements through the introduction of SBS CONFIRM. Borough wide survey of all highway trees. Competitive tendering has increased output for the same cost
8.3 This has led to improvements within the service but future budget provision at the current level of investment will result in increasing resource requirements for reactive maintenance. This in turn will lead to increased customer dissatisfaction and a further deterioration of the Borough’s highway tree stock. 11
8.4 Consideration should be given to further increasing finances to implement a sustainable cyclical routine maintenance programme, as this will have positive benefits to Bromley’s charge payers, decrease liability, and make better use of resources within the short to medium term by implementing pro-active maintenance. 8.5 To adequately maintain the Borough’s highway tree stock and significantly reduce increasing costs associated with the current undertaking – a move should be made towards establishing a pro-active sustainable five-year routine maintenance programme. This average cycle would be applied to all highway trees, however within this programme it would be necessary to prune some roads on a three-year cycle (i.e. insurance claim roads with clay shrinkage) and some on a seven-year cycle (i.e. ornamental roads). 8.6 The financial implications of a five-year cyclical routine maintenance programme are shown in table 1 below. From the table below to start a pro-active five-year cyclical routine maintenance programme a total of £478,000 will be required to prune 20% of the Boroughs highway trees annually. Table 1: Resources Needed to Implement a Five-Year Cyclical Routine Maintenance Programme. Diameter at Breast Height (DBH) D Small 0 – 20cm Medium 21– 40cm Large 41 – 60cm X-Large 61 – 80cm XX - Large 81+ cm Tree Size Total Number In Borough Average unit Price to prune (£) 28 70 128 195 282 Number of Trees to be pruned Annually 3200 2420 860 320 162 Total Cost: Annual Cost (£) 90,000 170,000 110,000 63,000 45,000 478,000
16190 12100 4300 1600 810 Total: 35,000
8.7 Assuming current budget availability is maintained there is already £96,000 towards the £478,000 required. This means that there is an additional budget requirement of £382,000 as of the 1st April 2007 as shown on table 2 below, with a total additional budgetary requirement of 1.4 million pounds over five years. 8.8 Table 2 shows that from years two to five the additional annual resources required is reduced by £200,000. The benefit of the cyclical maintenance programme is that during the 4 years, £200,000 of the existing budget spent on reactive works can be better utilised by re-directing the budget, using it for pro-active maintenance. At the end of the five-year period the additional budget requirement will be £182,000 annually, bringing the total annual arboricultural highway budget to £578,000.
Table 2: Five-Year Routine Maintenance Programme- effects on input Additional budget requirement assuming current budget availability is maintained: Year 1 £382,000 Year 2 £332,000 Year 3 £282,000 Year 4 £232,000 Year 5 £182,000 TOTAL: £ 1,410,000 Total Number of Trees Pruned Pruning Cycle
7000 7000 7000 7000 7000 35,000
5 years 5 years 5 years 5 years 5 years 5 Years
8.9 The benefits of implementing a five year cyclical routine maintenance programme are: Over the past 5 years the Council has spent almost £1.8m on reactive works, emergency call-outs and subsidence claims relating to the Borough’s trees. At the end of this time, the condition of the tree stock is far worse. The introduction of a 5 year cyclical maintenance programme, at a cost of £1.4m, will greatly improve the condition of the tree stock, reduce the number of emergency callouts and subsidence claims, and reduce the highway maintenance expenditure. It will enable the enhanced budget to be spent far more efficiently and effectively by diverting the majority of the resources to a pro-active programme rather than a reactive one, thereby improving the environment and safety for/of residents. Without investment the condition of the Borough’s highway tree stock will continue to decline resulting in increased resources being allocated to reactive and emergency works. Reduce annual enquiries from 10,000 in 2006 to 2500 by 2010. Reduction in the number of un-insurable Highway trees Uphold the Borough’s duty of care to maintain its street trees in accordance with The Highways Act 1980. A positive impact upon two of the Boroughs ‘Achieving Excellence’ standards Safer Communities and A Quality Environment. Uphold the Borough’s UDP Policy NE8 encouraging appropriate tree maintenance.
8.10 Over the last two years information has been gathered on the current state of the Borough’s highway tree stock, so that an informed decision can be made on whether it would be advisable to move towards a pro-active maintenance schedule. This report has outlined the current position and the positive benefits of implementing the preferred cyclical routine maintenance programme, at a cost of 1.4 million pounds over the next five years. As shown in the report over a five-year period the Borough currently spends
in excess of 1.8 million pounds on adhoc reactive works, insurance claims and pavement resurfacing works due to highway trees. Through investing 1.4 million pounds over five years the Borough will in effect change the way that it is currently spending money on arboricultural works. This will result in the majority of the 1.8 million pounds that is currently spent on reactive works with no long term gain, changing to being spent on pro-active maintenance with long-term benefits to the Borough. As well as this there will also be a reduction in customer enquiries from 10,000 in 2006 to an estimated 2500 by 2010, as a direct result of pro-active as opposed to reactive maintenance. From year five the total budget requirement for highway trees will equal £578,000 annually to maintain a five-year cyclical maintenance programme. 8.11 Failure to invest at this time will lead to a further decline in the Boroughs highway tree stock. This will result in increased resources being allocated to reactive and emergency call out works, which will lead to a further reduction in the amount of annual pro-active maintenance works undertaken.
Floral Bedding 9.1 Winter and summer floral bedding is provided to 353 locations across the Borough, in parks, schools, cemeteries and the street scene; of which about 51% is within the highway environment. Such floral bedding is located on roundabouts and amenity verges. 9.2 Nearly 1million bedding plants and bulbs are planted annually and the vast majority of perennial or hardy material is recycled to the broader community, Friends Groups and the hospice movement – rather than being composted at the end of season. 9.3 53 sites on highways are sponsored sites – which in the main are focussed on principal A21/A232, gateways and key roundabouts/amenity areas. The cost of sponsorship provides not only for the plants, but also their maintenance throughout the season – in addition to covering the provision of funding at some other sites not specifically sponsored. 9.4 609 Hanging baskets are located in 15 shopping centres, in addition to 94 barrier baskets at highway urban railing locations. A further 66 ‘cubes’ and flower towers are located at a further 12 locations, following funding directed by the Portfolio Holder for the local economy and under LPSA1 bids. 9.5 The provision of floral bedding annually accounts for £84,000, of which £63,000 is recovered through sponsorship. Any consideration for replacement of floral bedding sites with trees, shrubs or grass would have to be valued on a site by site basis – taking into account the likely loss of sponsorship and offset against replacement costs, future maintenance liabilities and highway safety issues.
9.6 The provision of floral enhancement is a key contributor to the Borough’s Clean and Green image and one of the very visible indicators of a quality street scene. 9.7 The floral bedding in Bromley is cited by external accreditation as a principal reason for its success in London In Bloom (6 times outright winner in the last 8 years) and quadruple Silver Medal (Silver Gilt in 2006) winner at the national Britain In Bloom. Rural Hedges 9.8 This contract covers the maintenance of 187,465.32 metres of hedgerows and 65,426.96 metres of cut banks across 75 sites, 12,126 metres of cut sightlines across 52 sites, and 8391 metres of cut ancient highways across 10 sites. 9.9 The schedule of works is a follows: Vegetation Cut Sight Lines Ancient Highways Hedges and Banks Annual Cuts April, August, November December April & November No of Cuts per annum 3 1 2
9.10 All vegetative cuttings from hedges, grass verges and banks are recycled back into the hedgerow. The contractor ensures that all roads and paths are kept free from cuttings and vegetative matter. Due to the number of cuts per year the amount of material produced is low enough to enable this form of waste disposal. 9.11 The total annual value of the 2004 – 2007 Rural Hedges and Sight Lines Maintenance Contract is £13,115.38p.
Highways Asset Management Plans
10.1 Highways are a valuable resource that need to be properly maintained in order that their value does not depreciate. Central government recognises this and has tasked all highway authorities with deriving plans to demonstrate the effectiveness of their stewardship of highway assets. 10.2 The government will require the Council to produce a benchmark asset value, aligned to present condition. From time to time thereon the Council will be required to re-assess the value of the asset, again based on condition. Any variation in condition will provide an indication of the level of maintenance investment provided by the Council and hence will be a tangible measure of the effectiveness of the Council's stewardship of it's highway assets. 10.3 Early estimates suggest this Council owns and maintains highway assets with value of the order of £700m to £800m and protects assets of at least a similar value. 15
This could be a conservative estimate. Of that sum it is estimated that approximately 70% of the value of the asset rests within carriageways and footways. 10.4 To provide a degree of perspective on the overall highways asset valuation figure, the comparable asset value for the Council's property portfolio is £650m. 10.5 The plan mentioned in paragraph 1 of this section is the Highway Asset Management Plan (HAMP). This Council has been proactive in developing it's plan and is the lead member of a Consortium of south London Boroughs involved with production of a generic HAMP. The consortium is aligned to the London Technical Advisors Group ( LoTAG, South Sector ) comprising representatives from Kingston, Merton, Sutton, Croydon, Lewisham, Greenwich, Bexley. The consortium appointed Opus International Consultants Ltd in August last year to help assist with this task and we are currently scheduled to receive a generic framework HAMP just prior to Christmas. 10.6 The importance of the production of the Council's HAMP should not be under estimated. Aside from being an opportunity to publish, in an overt and transparent way details of asset valuation and the choices available for delivering it's highway function, it will marry highway asset maintenance and investment to delivery of Bromley's Corporate Plan, most tangibly Safer Bromley, Quality Environment and Vibrant, Thriving Town Centres. As the HAMP is developed it will assist in determining priorities across the range of highway assets and hence the level of investment that should be directed to those priorities. 10.7 The HAMP should be treated as the Council's Highway Maintenance 'business plan'. 10.8 In respect of the way forward in managing the general decline in condition of highway assets it will be part of the function of the HAMP to present a cogent case for similar, if not enhanced, levels of revenue funding to be made available in the coming years in particular in respect of street trees, street lighting and highway maintenance of the Boroughs B,C and Unclassified roads. This would be in combination with exploring whole of life costs of all maintenance treatments. However, for footway and carriageway maintenance this may include some treatments found unpopular with residents in the past including surface dressing, slurry macadam and micro asphalts. These will be explored along with potential for recycling in the section below.
11.1 It is evident that current levels of investment in highways assets are significantly below the recommended levels and over a period of time the conditions will deteriorate. The asset management plan will provide a much more objective picture of this with calculated valuations.
11.2 Nevertheless, in most instances the deterioration is likely to be over a long time period and a strategic view is needed on the priorities within the highways budgets and in comparison with wider Council budgets.