Concerned about road safety as Essex County Council cuts highways maintenance funding

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) opposes Essex County Council’s axing of the Highway Rangers service as part of a new round of cuts in ECC’s self-described programme of ‘managed decline’ of Essex’s roads.

Paul Gadd (R4U) Paul Gadd (R4U)

R4U’s Cllr Paul Gadd, Essex County Councillor (ECC) for Saffron Walden, said “It is appalling that ECC has made another round of sweeping cuts to the maintenance of our roads. Their latest move is to axe the ‘Highways Rangers’. The Rangers service mends and cleans road signs, repairs fences, picks litter and cuts back vegetation. It is a vital part of maintaining road safety. ECC, who are legally responsible for the county’s highways, have instead asked other councils to fund the service.”

Cllr Gadd continued “This follows the revelations recently exposed in a report published by ECC’s own Security Committee. That report says that ECC’s Essex Highways has run out of money, and they have been operating a programme of ‘managed decline’ of our roads. They are spending less than half the funds required to ‘stand still’ on maintenance, there was a zero pothole budget, and that as a result the safety of our roads was already a ‘concern’ and would only get ‘worse’. Now ECC have announced that they are cutting the Highways Rangers service. Through my fellow opposition alliance members at ECC, we will be continuing to push ECC to explain how they intend to ensure our roads remain safe.”

Neil Hargreaves (R4U) Neil Hargreaves (R4U)

R4U’s Cllr Neil Hargreaves, portfolio holder for Finance at Uttlesford District Council, added “In Uttlesford, local people voted in Residents for Uttlesford to fix the £5 million annual shortfall left by the Conservatives at UDC – which we have done. Now ECC think district, parish and town councils should bail them out on highway maintenance. That is not our job. Uttlesford residents pay ECC more than £50 million a year in council taxes to run these services properly. For that money, we expect our roads to be properly maintained and safe. They are failing residents.”

ECC state that their roads are in 'managed decline', there is inadequate funding to maintain them, and now they are axing the Highways Rangers service.

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