Highway Maintenance Funding
The repair of potholes and stopping them from forming is one element to improve the condition for all road users. Well maintained highways not only improve local productivity but also the environment (by reducing delays), and makes cycling, walking more attractive. The Government is providing guidance and funding to highway authorities like Wakefield to ensure that our local roads and other highway assets are fit for the future.
Highways assets include carriageways, footways, structures and bridges, street lighting, and other street furniture such as signage and traffic signals.
Funding for highways maintenance comes from a number of sources, including the Department for Transport and also from internal Council budgets. These funding arrangements are:
Department for Transport (DfT) Funding
The Department of Transport (DfT) provides the following annual allocations to maintain the highway network:
Local Highways Maintenance Funding – 'Needs Based Formula'
This fund is allocated on a 'formula based' approach which is calculated using data provided by each local authority relating to the assets that authority is responsible for. Wakefield Council receives
£3,441,000 from the government to maintain the highways assets.
In December 2014, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced that £6 billion would be made available between 2015-16 and 2020-21 for local highways maintenance funding.
Of this, £578 million has been set aside for an incentive fund scheme to reward councils that demonstrate that they are following an asset management approach and adopting efficiency and best practice principles for local highway maintenance.
The funding is additional to the 'Needs Element' funding award explained above.
DfT Incentive Funding is awarded annually based on the performance of the Council's highway service against five key areas; asset management policy and strategy, communications, performance management and maintenance, asset data management and lifecycle planning.
Wakefield Council has been assessed as a 'Band 3' performing Authority and as such has achieved 100% of the available Incentive Fund allocation. This means that Wakefield Council receives
£723,000 additional funding.
Pothole Action Fund
In November 2015, a further £250 million was allocated by the DfT for pothole repairs and measures to stop them forming in the first place. Wakefield Council has received
£260,000 from the Pothole Action Fund which has been used to respond to defects in the roads through traditional potholes repairs and patching schemes.
Wakefield Council Internal Capital Investment
The highway network is one of the District's key assets and it is essential in serving the everyday needs of the local community, business users, partners, visitors and commuters.
Wakefield Council decided on the 11th September 2018 that additional funding was required to supplement the aforementioned national funds to achieve the ambition to reduce the significant deterioration in highway condition, support the economy and growth agenda and to bring about much needed relief from 'potholes' and congestion for highway users. The Council approved an investment of
£15 million over 5 years in highways asset maintenance.
Well-Managed Highways Infrastructure – A Code of Practice
Wakefield Council is applying the principles of the national guidance 'Well Managed Highway Infrastructure – A Code of Practice' (WMHI) which advocates a 'risk based' approach to highway asset management.
The new Code has given the Council the opportunity to review its highway maintenance practices and processes and not be bound by the prescriptive recommendations of the old ways of working. The new Code allows Council's to better align its service levels more closely to corporate and local objectives and where robust analysis and evidence supports it, the potential to deliver service efficiencies.
As the Highway Authority, the Council has certain legal obligations it must meet to ensure the highway network is safe and fit for purpose. From time to time, these obligations may become the subject of claims for loss or personal injury. Demonstrating that the Council maintains the public highway in accordance with the Code is essential to be able to counter such claims and protect the 'public purse'.
The following documents set out the principles in which Wakefield Council will deliver a Well Managed Highway Infrastructure network: