Amey blames bad weather for backlog of Sheffield road repairs

Sheffield Streets Ahead contractor Amey has blamed bad weather earlier this year for a backlog of repairs on minor city roads.
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The company, which has a contract with Sheffield City Council to look after all aspects of highways maintenance in the city running to 2037, is putting in extra resources to clear the backlog, the council’s waste and street scene policy committee heard on Wednesday (March 13).

The committee was given an update on the company’s performance on what it provides in the contract.

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The report to the committee said: “Amey have proposed to apply additional resource to address the backlog of raised defects, early results show that thebacklog is not reducing, however council officers acknowledge that adverse weather conditions experienced in recent months have limited Amey’s ability to target reductions on this backlog.”

Bad weather has been blamed by Sheffield City Council contractor Amey for falling behind on road repairs in Sheffield. Picture: RACBad weather has been blamed by Sheffield City Council contractor Amey for falling behind on road repairs in Sheffield. Picture: RAC
Bad weather has been blamed by Sheffield City Council contractor Amey for falling behind on road repairs in Sheffield. Picture: RAC

The company had already failed to meet its contract requirements for carriageway and footway surfacing in 2021/22 and has been working on an improvement plan since April 2022.

The report said that repairs to hazardous potholes more than 40mm in depth have shown good performance throughout the year, averaging 99.5 per cent per month up to the end of January.

Baffling

Committee chair Coun Joe Otten said: “It’s slightly baffling that there are over 10 years on this contract to go and if things are this bad now they are only going to get worse.”

Sheffield City Council waste and street scene policy committee chair Coun Joe Otten has urged action from council Streets Ahead contractor Amey to deliver better on road repairs. Picture: Sheffield Council webcastSheffield City Council waste and street scene policy committee chair Coun Joe Otten has urged action from council Streets Ahead contractor Amey to deliver better on road repairs. Picture: Sheffield Council webcast
Sheffield City Council waste and street scene policy committee chair Coun Joe Otten has urged action from council Streets Ahead contractor Amey to deliver better on road repairs. Picture: Sheffield Council webcast
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He conceded that everyone notices the roads where the surfaces have failed, not the ones that haven’t.

He asked if there was a conversation to be had to make sure things got better. Mohammed Edroos, new council assistant director for highways maintenance, said that conversation has already started with Amey to see what can be maximised within the terms of the contract.

The company has strengthened its customer services team that deals with public complaints as this had fallen below its target of 80 per cent resolved in good time in the first quarter of 2023/24. By January of this year, that figure had risen to 86.5 per cent.

On fly-tipping, the report said there has been a 15 per cent increase over the last quarter, compared to 2023 figures.

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It added: “What may conjure up the traditional images of what is a ‘fly tip’ – such as builder’s waste or dumped tyres now in reality only makes up a tiny proportion of the overall waste recorded – for example in January 2024, building waste made up only around 3.5 per cent of total instances being recorded citywide.

Effective

“The practice of leaving bagged household waste at the side of street litter bins is accounting for much of the fly-tipping in Sheffield.

“Amey’s performance in removal of fly-tipped waste remains effective, with incidents consistently being dealt with in line with contractual timescales, however removing the waste in such an effective manner may only be serving as an incentive for such leaving of waste and further increases may be seen unless targeted action is conducted.”

The committee heard that the council intends to increase the money it spends on tackling fly-tipping.

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The report noted that the company is keeping street lights working in 99.9 per cent of cases. Changes to city centre street cleaning have ensured that the area stays cleaner for longer.

The company is trialling a new street cleaning project in the east of Sheffield and is targeting leaf clearance across the city. A drainage action plan is looking at how better to tackle complex issues that will enable it to deal with a backlog of problems.