Hounslow Council


Agenda item

Response to storm damage

Presentation by Hounslow Highways.

Minutes:

Please see the slide presentation (agenda item 10).

 

Ian Lennock, Operations Manager Hounslow Highways, made the presentation assisted by Martin Clack, Divisional Director Hounslow Highways and Sabeel Khan, Highways Contract manager attended.

 

In response to questions from members Mr Lennock advised that trees were regularly inspected for damage and disease, including ultrasound roots checks as well as a visual inspection, and were not just checked after events like the storm. Fallen trees on the network were replaced like for like where possible, ie with saplings of a similar species. The Chair advised that a number of trees had been removed from her ward and not replaced. Mr Clack stated that Hounslow Highways were responsible for approximately 124,000 trees, of which an average of 200 were lost each year and all were replaced. Trees were also maintained by methods such as pollarding which was effective in minimising the damage done by high winds, making such intervention a very worthwhile investment. Thanks to this investment in infrastructure Hounslow lost just six trees in Storm Doris, compared with 200 in Ealing. Damage done by falling trees, ie to cars, was covered by insurance on the property in question. The property owners’ insurance companies claimed from Hounslow Highways, not the Council. A collapsed wall was not the subject of an insurance claim against the authority; if rubble fell into the road Hounslow Highways removed it but such damage was otherwise up to the owner to rectify.

 

Area Forum members went on to express concerns about flytipping, which had increased considerably recently. Mr Clack advised that Hounslow Highways carried out education as well as enforcement, visiting schools, leafleting homes and always tried to educate people caught flytipping before taking legal action. An issue was the large number of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in central Hounslow which housed a largely transient population with little or no sense of community. 700 fixed penalty notices (FPNs) had been issued for the offence in 2016. Responsibility for clean ups was highlighted on a coded map but in general HH did not cover unadopted roads; if completely unadopted the Pollution Team would deal with it. Members expressed concern that perhaps the authority’s efficiency in cleaning up dumping only encouraged people to do it and it was noted that it had become harder to find culprits and they rarely included addressed envelopes and other evidence as had occurred in the past. Mr Khan advised that ongoing education programmes were aimed at encouraging better recycling and reducing waste of all kinds and a campaign to be launched in summer 2017 was aimed at trying to stop people using recycling collection points for general waste, being largely aimed at shops. The authority was working with Keep Britain Tidy and had won KBT’s Team of the Year Award for 2016. Education was the key to work done, with a great deal of domestic leafleting. It was acknowledged that CCTV was not particularly effective as offenders were aware of the cameras and parked away from them, putting on hoodies etc to carry out dumping. However the leafleting campaign had led to a 60-70% decrease in offences but it had to be seen in the context of an unsustainable level of effort unfortunately.

 

Members asked about potholes, specifically about progress on the first round of bringing all the borough’s roads and pavements up to scratch. Mr Clack advised that £96 million was to be invested in roads and footpaths with a further £46 million being available. There was no need to resurface every road, as in many cases only maintenance was required and 96% of the borough’s roads had received attention. Members stated that they had been told that every main road would be resurfaced and had advised residents accordingly; they felt this made the Council look bad and they called for a meeting to be called to enable members and Hounslow Highways officers to discuss the matter of road and footpath maintenance exclusively.

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