Consultation 2013 (closed)

Consultation was carried out between 8 November 2013 and 13 December 2013 on the range of proposed cuts to the Highways budget for 2014 / 2015. The options under consideration were as follows –

  1. Reduce locally determined highway drainage and cleaning activities carried out by Parish Lengthsmen
  2. Review gully emptying schedules to concentrate more on problem gullies
  3. Stop specialist tree surveying on trees on privately owned land close to, but not on the highway
  4. Stop routine renewal of non-essential road markings
  5. Only repair streetlights when two or more lights become faulty
  6. Stop cutting grass verges on minor roads (except for safety reasons)
  7. Stop annual routine cleaning of cattle grids
  8. Stop providing free stiles and gates to landowners with a public right of way and reduce vegetation clearance on more paths
  9. Stop maintenance of variable message road signs and remove when they become defective

The consultation consisted of an online survey which was promoted via the DCC website, social media channels and a press release.

In total we received nearly 1,500 survey responses and comments.

The vast majority of respondents were male and aged 60 and over.

Approximately 10% of respondents said they had a disability.

Geographically responses were received from all 8 of the Devon district areas.

The responses have been given due consideration and the revised proposals are as follows:

1. Reduce locally determined highway drainage and cleaning activities carried out by Parish Lengthsmen

We received 200 responses and 88 specific comments. Over 50% wanted to consider an alternative cost saving, 46% to reduce the service as proposed and 1% to cut the budget further. However the proposal may not have been adequately explained in the consultation, as there were a number of comments about cuts to the lengthsman service.The proposal is to stop the annual cleaning of the easements, and to stop the current duplication of some of the work being carried out by the lengthsman.The effect on the lengthsmen is therefore that the annual easement clearing will be their first priority.The number of lengthsman is not being reduced.

Following consideration of these responses the work of the lengthsman will be reprioritised to ensure the annual cleaning of all easements.

2. Review gully emptying schedules to concentrate more on problem gullies.

We received 160 responses and 24 specific comments. Nearly 80% agreed to reduce the service as proposed.

Following consideration of these responses the gully emptying schedule will be amended, saving £330,000. Gullies that do not require an annual clean will be emptied less often to allow problem gullies to be targeted more frequently.

3. Stop specialist tree surveying on trees on privately owned land close to, but not on the highway

We received 199 responses and 27 specific comments. Nearly 80% agreed to reduce the service as proposed.

Following consideration of these responses the County Council will continue to inspect and deal with trees on the highway for which it is responsible however it will stop proactively surveying private trees close to the highway. This will save a further £300,000.

4. Stop routine renewal of non-essential road markings

We received 163 responses and 24 specific comments. Over 70% agreed to reduce the service as proposed.

Following consideration of these responses only road markings and studs related to safety will be maintained, saving £286,000.

5. Only repair streetlights when two or more lights become faulty

We received 153 responses and 39 specific comments. Just over 50% agreed to reduce the service as proposed, 28% to consider an alternative cost saving and 21% to cut the budget further.

Following consideration of these responses further part night lighting schemes will be implemented and, where safe to do so, repairs optimised when two or more lights become faulty.

6. Stop cutting grass verges on minor roads (except for safety reasons)

We received 130 responses and 23 specific comments. Nearly 70% agreed to reduce the service as proposed.

Following consideration of these responses grass cutting of the one metre wide strip next to minor rural roads will stop saving £200,000, however visibility cutting will remain unchanged. These verges will only receive cutting for safety reasons and in every third year to their full width.

7. Stop annual routine cleaning of cattle grids

We received 115 responses and 5 specific comments. Nearly 90% agreed to reduce the service as proposed.

Following consideration of these responses the routine cleaning of cattle grids will reduce saving £218,000.

8. Stop providing free stiles and gates to landowners with a public right of way and reduce vegetation clearance on more paths

We received 128 responses and 47 specific comments. Nearly 50% agreed to reduce the service as proposed, 45% to consider an alternative cost saving and 7% to cut the budget further.

Following consideration of these responses seasonal clearance of Public Rights of Way will reduce and free provision of gates and stiles to landowners will end, saving £65,000.

9. Stop maintenance of variable message road signs and remove when they become defective

We received 120 responses and 25 specific comments. 70% agreed to reduce the service as proposed.

Following consideration of these responses the maintenance of variable message signs will reduce and the maintenance of automatic number plate recognition systems will stop, saving £78,000.

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