Agenda item

Review of Winter Maintenance Policy


As detailed in the recommendations.


Councillor Hughes introduced the report which provided an overview of the winter maintenance service over the last season and responsibilities of the Council, as well as seeking approval for a review of the winter maintenance policy.


Winter service operations played a fundamental role in ensuring that highway networks were safe and available during adverse weather conditions from around October through to April each year. The winter maintenance service was recognised as one of the most important functions that the highway authority provided.  Maintaining access to the network was crucial for emergency services, businesses, social services, education, and the public.


The report outlined the current winter maintenance policy, the legislative requirements for providing such a service, and the actions taken by the Streetscene and Transportation portfolio to support winter service operations. In addition, the report outlined the County’s response to other adverse weather events, such as heavy rainfall and high winds.


A commitment had been given to review the winter maintenance policy every two years and the report explained winter maintenance operations and sought approval of the proposed winter service plan and winter maintenance policy for the next two years 2023-2025.


The Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) added that the review had highlighted that there was an opportunity to reconsider the structure for winter maintenance decision making, as well as the format for the weather forecast, which was currently based on two weather stations located in Hendre and Brynford. Officers had been exploring the use of route-based forecasting or domain-based forecasting instead of the current approach. Work would be undertaken during 2023-2024 with MetDesk to analyse the results collected over the forthcoming winter season, to determine whether this weather forecasting modelling may offer any savings and could be adopted by Flintshire in the future. It was proposed that a further report would be presented to Cabinet in the summer of 2024 once the work had been completed.

At the meeting of Environment & Economy Overview & Scrutiny Committee held on 12th September 2023, the Winter Maintenance Policy 2023-25 was considered.  Members of the Committee queried the prioritisation of bus routes at section 3.2. Priority 1 routes referred to routes with eight bus services or more an hour and Priority 2 routes referred to four bus services or more an hour. The Committee felt that too many crucial services would not meet either category. Members of the Scrutiny Committee suggested changing Priority 1 and 2 to less prescriptive criteria to reference the ‘Core Bus Network’ and ‘the remaining routes‘ respectively. Those changes were reflected in the document presented to Cabinet.




(a)       That the refreshed winter maintenance service policy be approved;


(b)       That the portfolio’s response to adverse weather events over the Winter season 2022-2023 be noted;


(c)        That the continued need to maintain the revenue budget at present levels along with earmarked reserves of £250k be supported; and


(d)       That a further report be presented to Cabinet in 2024 following a review of the 2023-2024 season by the weather forecasting provider in relation to geographically specific treatment decision making.

Supporting documents: