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Stephen Hammond MP

On 3rd July I met with Stephen Hammond MP, the Under-secretary of State with responsibility for the Highways Agency and the motorways in England. The meeting was in response to a written request from Andrew Gwynne MP.

The meeting, held at the DfT headquarters in London, was also attended by Freda Rashid and Mathew Sweeting from the Highways Agency. Freda is the Network Management Solutions Team Leader in Manchester. I had previously corresponded with her over my concerns about the new Asset Support Contract. Matthew is the Asset Delivery Manager for Area 10 which includes the Manchester and Liverpool conurbations including Andrew’s constituency of Denton and Reddish.

Andrew raised his concerns about the poor cleansing standards in Area 10. I was able to inform the meeting that in the two months following the appointment of the new contractor on 4th November 2012 no cleaning whatsoever had taken place. Mathew indicated that the problems had been corrected. However Andrew bore witness that  this was not the case.

I said that I felt that the Agency’s monitoring procedures were defective. As an example I said that the Agency do not carry out any physical inspections of the M40 to check the contractor’s work. Freda cast some doubt on this and the Minster said he would look into it.

To further illustrate my point I said in the case of the M25 contract the Agency’s Environmental Amenity Index Audits applied more lax definitions of the litter grades than those defined in the Litter Code of Practice – and that the process was defective in other ways.  Freda stated that consistent standards were applied across the whole network.  I agreed to provide the evidence for my assertions. Please refer to my subsequent e-mail to her drawing her attention to my concerns about procedures on the M40 and M25.

Matthew ran through the various checks and monitoring procedures used in Area 10 under the new AS contract. Penalties he said could be applied to defaulting contractors. I have written to him to get the details. I am also taking a close look at the Area 10 contractors cleaning inspection procedures.

The Minister suggested to Andrew that they should meet again in September. I asked if I could attend and the Minister kindly agreed.

I believe that this marks a great leap forward in my campaign – all thanks to Andrew Gwynne MP.

Peter Silverman
13th July 2013

 

 

 

 

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