Nottinghamshire highways management to be reviewed
A cross-party review will look into the state of Nottinghamshire’s roads and whether county officials could make improvements to their highways management.
Councillors unanimously backed proposals to create the new panel, which will review methods and technologies available to the authority in repairing roads and pavements.
The board will oversee how the authority has conducted its highways operations in the past, and whether operations such as pothole repairs or road resurfacing could be done in a more efficient manner.
Figures released in 2019 showed that Nottinghamshire had the highest number of potholes across the UK, with more than 250,000 reported in the space of two years.
And new council leader Ben Bradley MP has made the panel one of his first priorities, stating that roads were “undoubtedly the biggest issue on the doorstep”.
But speaking with Nottinghamshire Live, he says there needs to be “expectation management” – stressing that it’s “going to take some time” before improvement is noticeable.
He said: “We do need to look at it differently and to make sure we’re using the right techniques, processes, machinery and policies at County Hall to get it right.
“We should have a little bit of expectation management, we’re not going to fix all of the roads overnight.
“It’s a long term problem that’s going to take us some time to fix. But it’s important that we’re not just chucking money at something that doesn’t work.
“The first thing is to get this process right, and hopefully over the four years residents will see a difference.”
The panel will comprise politicians from all parties who will work together to examine a range of methods and technologies that are used to repair and maintain the county’s roads and suggest recommendations for improvement.
It will be overseen by the transport and environment committee, led by Councillor Neil Clarke who was elected as its chair on Thursday (May 27).
Speaking at the full council meeting, Councillor Clarke said: “We all know there is work to be done, but this demonstrates that we are listening to our residents and that we are ready to react and to do something.
“It is not a new issue, but it is a big issue because everyone in Nottinghamshire looks at roads every day.
“We do have to manage expectations, because not every road or pothole will be repaired next week.
“However, it is perfectly valid to ask lots of questions like ‘are we doing this in the most efficient way, is there a better way or is there a new latest innovation’.
“Even some of the more basic questions like why are we doing it that way, or is there a better way we can do it.
“It needs to be cross party because we need that spirit of cooperation, we need to work together because it’s a countywide issue.”
The issue sparked a long discussion about how different techniques could be used in improving and repairing road surfaces.
Speaking in the meeting, Councillor David Martin, Ashfield Independents member for Selston, said: “This was the subject of the election.
“It is the way in which we repair the roads that’s the main problem.
“If we get someone pulling up in a van, chucking some tarmac into a hole, and then having a fag for longer than it took to throw the tarmac into the hole, that’s when we get the problem of our perception from the public.
“That’s what is tarnishing the council’s image.”
The Cross Party Highways Panel will report its recommendations to policy committee, and any policy changes agreed by that committee will then be applied, managed and overseen by the transport and environment committee.