Agenda item

Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Highways & Transport

Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport in attendance to answer questions about highways and transport work within the Sevenoaks District.


The Chairman welcomed Cllr David Brazier, the Kent County Council (KCC) Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport who gave a verbal update on the work carried out by Kent Highways.

KCC had been ensuring the maintenance of 400 miles of highways and 4000 miles of road. Within Kent there were 330 signal junctions and 170 CCTV cameras. There were KCC Officers who were responsible for considering the highways aspect of planning applications within the District.

Members were advised that 97% of bus journeys were run by a private operator with KCC running a few of its own bus services. In West Kent, operators Go Coach and Arriva primarily ran the bus services. KCC had maintained a relationship with the operators to ensure services continue. Travel services were provided to roughly 4000 special educational needs (SEN) customers a year. The Kent Travel Saver was a pass available to allow children to travel to school. Under the government’s National Bus Strategy, KCC had bid for £211 million to provide more bus services and better bus stops with real time information. Previously, bus services had been introduced following lobbying from residents but then had been discontinued due to lack of use. A grant of £9.6 million had been received from government for the Zero Emissions Buses Regional Authorities (ZEBRA) scheme to deliver electric buses.

There were various improvement schemes underway. “Vision zero” was a universal strategy affecting local authorities and cyclists in Kent with the aim to have no accidents by 2050.

A substantial programme of works had been funded to improve drainage. There had recently been an increase in the frequency of rainfall incidents requiring improvements to the current drainage system.

KCC had requested powers from the Department for Transport (DfT) to eliminate disruptive parking by lorry drivers in country lanes and residential areas. There had since been a new policy adopted whereby more facilities for lorry drivers to park would be provided to prevent the disruptive parking from taking place. KCC had been working with the private sector to help provide the facilities.

KCC had sought powers to enable monitoring of those who contravene listed offences in the Traffic Management Act 2004 such as stopping in yellow box junctions and taking prohibited right turns. It was highlighted that these powers were requested to ensure traffic on roads would run smoother.

Regarding winter schemes, Members were advised that KCC ensured 23 to 24 tonnes of salt was available to remove ice from roads. There had been fewer complaints of potholes than previously. Performance indicators at KCC had allowed 28 days to carry out repairs of potholes. Rather than filling in a pothole, repair would involve to patching the whole damaged highway. In the 2018-19 year, approximately 15,000 potholes were repaired followed by 38,000 in 2019-20 and 40,000 in 2020-21. It was reported that £20 million was spent on pothole repairs in the previous year.

Members asked questions of clarification and expressed concerns over planning applications for large residential units where they felt there was insufficient parking provision with few public transport facilities. Members were advised that KCC Officers would rely on the current guidance at the time when being consulted on planning applications.

Members queried what road safety measures were place on the A25 Seal Hollow Road with the speed limit being 40mph. Members were advised that it had been claimed that bringing the speed limit down would create congestion.

Regarding the enforcement of those stopping in yellow box junctions or taking prohibited right turns, it was clarified that money from fines would be received by KCC to cover the cost of the scheme with a road sensor determining when to issue fines.

Following queries on school crossing officers, Members were advised that KCC planned to continue hiring crossing officers outside schools. There had been difficulties recruiting people to the post due to the role’s wages, inconvenient hours and exposure to the weather.

With agreement from the committee, the Chairman brought the item to a close due to technical difficulties.


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