After many months of hard work and careful planning, Suffolk County Council and its new highways partner, Milestone, and streetlighting partner, McCann, have successfully launched their new contracts here in Suffolk.
The new highways service, which was awarded to Milestone and is worth in the region of £800 million - £1 billion, will deliver highway projects and improvements across Suffolk for up to 20 years. This will include maintaining roads, pavements, and rights of way, improving drainage, hedge trimming, construction of new road schemes, snow-clearing and gritting and much more.
Milestone is focused on improving the efficiency of our pothole repairs and reactive services, supporting visible improvements in grouping defects together in a road so they are repaired at the same time.
When it comes to maintaining our streetlights across Suffolk, it was important to us that we found the most suitable contractors to deliver the best services possible for our residents. This is why we separated streetlighting from the main highways contract and sought out the best match for our requirements here in Suffolk. We’ve awarded our streetlighting services to J McCann who are well-renowned specialists and who aim to tighten up maintenance of streetlights and associated assets across our highway network.
Should any additional funding become available, Milestone and McCann are ready and capable of delivering more work - enabling the benefits of any extra money to be quickly seen and felt by our communities.
We want a keener focus on delivering greater social value, building on the council’s commitment to carbon reduction, and protecting the environment, using local skills and talent, and giving young people the opportunity to work in the sector.
The new partnership was built around key objectives, which will form the basis for all that Suffolk Highways and Suffolk Streetlighting do in their operations.
These are as follows:
- Collaboration and Partnership – bringing together Suffolk County Council and our partners, Milestone and McCann under the Suffolk Highways and Street Lighting Services branding, ensuring we work seamlessly to deliver excellent services for the benefit of the communities across our county
- Social Value – ensuring we get more for every £ spent, including spending with local businesses in Suffolk where possible to boost the local economy and jobs.
- Environment and Net Zero Carbon – driving change that supports our ambition to be carbon neutral, including a move to electric vehicles and equipment, reducing pollution and increasing the recycling and reuse of materials removed from our works.
- Customer Communication and Engagement – ensuring residents are the focus of any activity we carry out on the highway; implementing informative, timely and accurate communication to allow communities to travel safely and with minimal disruption.
- Commercialism and Enterprise – bringing innovation and new technologies onto our business and actively seeking third party work opportunities that generate income which can be used for investment back into our highway services.
- Equality, Diversity and Inclusion – being an inclusive organisation, supporting everyone so that they can reach their full potential. We will embed equality into everything that we do, making our services and places of work inclusive, tackling inequality and promoting inclusion.
As highways services tend to impact all those living, working or travelling in our county; it was essential we found the best possible fit for what was needed here in Suffolk. Both partners are expected to demonstrate the same values and ambitions that we have as a county council. We require them to carry out maintenance and improvements which focus on providing value for Suffolk’s residents.
We are committed to seeking out a local supply chain to keep our operations local and are keen to see Suffolk’s residents working for us.
I am excited to see our teams work together to do the very best for residents and leave a positive legacy for Suffolk, by improving infrastructure and maintaining the safest possible network for all users, all year round.
I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved in successfully procuring, awarding and mobilising these new contracts, whilst continuing to keep our county safe and moving.
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Column by Councillor Paul West, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Ipswich, operational highways and flooding