Well Managed Highway Infrastructure

The Code of Practice ‘Well Managed Highway Infrastructure’ (WMHI) provides guidance to councils regarding the management and maintenance of local roads.  We follow this guidance as best practice to deliver an efficient and effective service.

On 4 February 2020, Cabinet considered the adoption of a number of recommendations outlined in WMHI. The specific recommendations related to Highway Safety Inspections, Winter Service and The Resilient Network.

Network Hierarchy

The network hierarchy forms the basis of the council's approach to highway safety inspections and winter service.

A network hierarchy prioritises areas of the network by importance for example, their expected use, resilience and economic and social factors including industry, schools, hospitals. This moves us away from the traditional prioritisation of the network by road classification i.e. A, B and C etc. Our network hierarchy splits roads into categories in terms of importance:

  • resilient network 
  • strategic network
  • main distributor
  • secondary distributor
  • link roads
  • local access roads

Resilient network

A resilient network consists of the most important routes in the borough in terms of connectivity and accessibility. It includes the roads used by Highways England as emergency diversion routes and advanced diversion routes:

Highway safety inspection code of practice and policy

Highway safety inspections

We used our network hierarchy to update the frequency of our current safety inspections based on risk.

We have replaced intervention levels with investigatory levels. Before, we treated defects at the specific intervention level. Now we assess the defects at the investigatory level to determine the risk they pose to the public.

We have revised our response times to defect repairs.

Winter and adverse weather

The decision to adopt the winter service aspects of the recommendations was called in following the Cabinet meeting on 4 February 2020.

The Environment, Regeneration and Overview Scrutiny Committee discussed the call-in on 16 March 2020.  Cabinet made a recommendation at a meeting on 5 May 2020, ‘To undertake a further round of streamlined consultation on the winter service element only as part of the annual review of the Well Managed Highways Infrastructure annual review process'.

We consulted all council members, Area Highway Group chairs, community groups (via AHGs ), all schools, cycling groups, town and parish councils and emergency services between 11 September 2020 and 20 November 2020. 

We sent consultees the risk assessment methodology, the Winter and Adverse Weather Policy, the Winter and Adverse Weather Plan, the risk assessment scores for roads added, the risk assessment scores for roads removed, the risk assessment scores for roads retained, and maps showing the proposed new gritting routes for each Area Highway Group area.

We received 129 responses to the consultation;  29 from ward members, 41 from town and parish councils, 41 from members of the public, 15 from schools, 2 from cycling groups and 1 from the emergency services. We considered all of the comments and feedback and produced the finalised winter treatment network. 

We assessed the information and locations received from respondents against the defined criteria set out in the risk assessment methodology. 

The metrics used to determine which roads form the gritting routes are defined in the risk assessment matrix.  Following the consultation, no roads were removed and a number of roads were added to the gritting routes.  These are detailed in the table below called 'roads added to the winter treated network following further consultation'.

Previously the winter service was delivered in accordance with the older guidance provided by 'Well Maintained Highways'.  

We developed our approved winter treatment network using our network hierarchy and a risk-based approach considering local risk factors including usage, local amenities, vulnerable users, public transport and local risks such as steep gradients, cold spots and other known local issues.

We have risk assessed each section of highway within the borough in line with the risk assessment pro-forma. We have identified 1043 km out of 2700km (38%) of the highway network that needs routine winter treatment.

The factor is multiplied by 100 to give the total score.  Roads scoring 100 or more will be included on the gritting routes. This approach ensures a uniform and consistent approach across the network. 

We have added 103km of previously untreated roads to the winter treated network. 892 km of previously treated roads remain on the winter treated network.  We have removed 230km of previously treated roads from the treated network.

We have shown the changes on maps for each town:

We will retain the services of farm contractors, who in times of more extreme weather we may ask to undertake winter maintenance to specific routes in the high east of the borough.


Grit bins

We will assess the provision of grit bins on a variety of factors including the gradient, proximity to bends and junctions, number of properties, and whether the road was previously included on a gritting route.

Page last reviewed: 02 November 2021