Will Forster

Lib Dem Councillor for South Woking and Leader of the Lib Dems on Surrey County Council Learn more

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Lib Dems criticise poor choice of highway contractors

by willforster on 29 September, 2021

Yesterday, I questioned Surrey County Council’s process of selecting a new highways maintenance contractor which has resulted in the three final bids coming from companies all with a history of failing Surrey residents.

The Council’s Cabinet met yesterday and agreed to award the contract to either Amey, Kier or Ringway. Initially the contract will be for 10 years, but a possible extension could take it to 21 years with a total value of about £2.5 billion.

The Lib Dems and I think this is an appalling situation to be in and means that Surrey’s roads will be run by a company with a poor track record locally for at least the next decade.

Kier is currently responsible for maintaining Surrey’s roads, which has resulted in the county being the pothole capital of the country. Ringway used to run the roads in the West of Surrey, their contractor ended in 2011 and they had to pay £250,000 in compensation to the County Council. Finally, 4 out of 11 Surrey’s Borough and District Councils – including Woking Borough Council are struggling with no or limited garden waste collection under Amey.

The Council should have given serious consideration to bringing the services in house, but it does seem that the Conservatives always favour external contracts regardless of the quality of service received. The County Council needs to reassure residents that the experience of past issues will not be repeated. People in Surrey deserve to cycle, drive and walk on good quality roads and pavements, yet at the moment our highway network is in poor condition.

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