8th August 2023
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Council’s proactive management of the Highways Act
1. Can you please confirm how the council proactively (ie. Not in response to issues reported to them by customers) executes is statutory obligations under the highways act in respect of low growth over roads / pavements / cycle ways, growth obscuring lamp posts light output and growth obscuring road signs? Ie. Process followed, frequency / cycles, etc.
2. If the process includes keeping logs of inspections undertaken / findings from inspections, could you please confirm what these are known as, so as to support further FOI for these reports for specific locations?
Our Highways department have provided the following response:
In support of its responsibilities under the Highways Act, Wokingham Borough inspects it highways network on a cyclical basis. Inspection frequencies are based on criteria defined in the Wokingham Highways Inspection Policy (WHIP), which is published on the Wokingham Borough website as Volume 2 of the Wokingham Highways Maintenance Management Plan (HMMP). The link is here:
Safety defects identified during inspection are recorded and actioned as required. With respect to vegetation, such defects may include vegetation obstructing the highway, hazardous trees, vegetation blocking safety sight lines, and overhanging vegetation from private land. The principal means for recording information associated with highway inspections is the Wokingham Highways Information Management System (HIMS), which contains details of inspection dates, and any actions or works that arise from inspections.
Our Tree Management department have provided the following response:
In terms of tree inspections for trees along the Adopted Highway, the Council has in place and executes a Policy for the Ongoing Maintenance of Council Owned Trees and a Tree Inspection Framework for Council Owned Trees to ensure that trees are inspected to assess their health and safety at a frequency appropriate to the risk zone inline with the Tree Inspection Framework. The frequency of inspections will also vary depending on a variety of factors including the location of tree, condition, age, species and previous inspection outcomes as these factors may require the need for an increased inspection frequency for specific trees. For example, if a tree has been identified as having a pest, wound or failure point, the frequency of inspection would need to be adjusted accordingly in order to monitor the risk.
Currently, inspection outcomes and works required on Highway trees are recorded on the Council’s internal spreadsheets. However, the service area is currently in the process of implementing a new Tree Asset Management System which will help streamline the way the Council is able to store and record tree inspections and work requirements. This will also support with future FOI requests as each tree asset will be assigned a unique number that will allow Council Officers to efficiently produce audit trails for the inspections and work carried out on each tree.
Our Cleaner & Greener department have provided the following response:
Highways undertakes regular inspections of the highway network and reports any identified issues to Cleaner & Greener for action/investigation.
The majority of our hedges receive annual maintenance.