Cheshire East Council’s highways service has become a UK exemplar for the way in which the borough’s highways maintenance programme is managed, meaning the authority is in line for a grant ‘bonus’ from the government.
ISO 55001 gives the authority’s highways service international recognition for its high standard of asset management. The borough’s £5 billion’s worth of roads, bridges, lighting, footways and traffic signs are the council’s biggest material asset.
The British Standards ISO award recognises the proactive management of highways maintenance and the way in which repairs and improvements are prioritised in order to make the most cost-effective use of the £9m highways maintenance grant.
Reports of road defects to the council reduced dramatically from 17,000 in 2012/13 to just over 4,000 in 2015/16.
The award could now mean that the council will qualify for further incentive funding to the tune of £870,000 with the potential for a further increase in funding in 2018-19.
Highways works in Cheshire East are planned through an ‘asset managed’ approach to maintenance and repairs so that works are carried out at the right time, in the right location and with the right and appropriate degree of treatment.
Councillor David Brown, cabinet member for highways, said: “This award recognises the hard work that takes place behind the scenes to budget-manage and deliver our highways maintenance and improvement schemes in the most cost-effective way on behalf of our residents.
“This ensures that the borough’s highway infrastructure remains sustainable over the long term, to make best use of the highways budget.
“We believe we may be only the second authority in the country to receive this award, which is great news for our service.”
Compared with other road networks in the North West and based on Department for Transport statistics Cheshire East’s roads showed the greatest improvement in 2016 with A and B roads improving by three per cent and C roads by six per cent, compared to 2013.
This is the second BSi award made to the council’s highways division within a year.