Essex Highways in "managed decline" as they axe vital maintenance service

January 6, 2023 12:57 PM
Originally published by Essex Liberal Democrats

Cllr Douglas McCall PotholesEssex County Council Highways have been attacked for being in "managed decline" on their road maintenance, at the same time as they announce a further cut to the service. The Conservative-run Council has recently announced it will stop the Highway Ranger service, which carries out basic maintenance. The rangers are responsible for cleaning and minor repairs, trimming of vegetation and weeds, grass cutting highway verges, graffiti removal, painting street furniture, and cleaning drainage among other jobs.

Lib Dem County Councillor for Rayleigh North, James Newport, believes the service is vital and must be retained. "This is a knee-jerk reaction, just looking at what they can cut but not taking into consideration the full implications," he said. "The rangers services is vital and very much in demand by residents to make sure roads are navigable and safe.

"I don't think they have thought it through, or consulted with the district councils."

Essex Highways report of managed declineLast autumn, in a committee report, Essex Highways admitted that the estimated need for regular maintenance is £77.7m a year across Essex but they are only spending £36.7m (see picture) and that therefore "it is clear that the asset is in managed decline". The report goes on to say "We no longer have a revenue budget for potholes".