Wigan scoops national award for highways services

image of workers tending to a road

Wigan Council’s highway maintenance services have been named the best in the UK by a body that recognises public sector excellence.

The local authority fought off tough competition to be named winner of best service team in the Highways, Winter Maintenance and Street Lighting category at the 2019 APSE Awards.

The awards encourage and celebrate excellence in the public sector by measuring and comparing services across the UK.

Wigan Council has a highways network of 1,160km which has a total value of £1.6bn. It also manages 2,000km of footway, 58,000 drainage gullies and 36,000 streetlights.

Earlier this year the council announced it will invest an additional £3.3m of council funding in repairing the roads, topping up the £5.1m received in capital funding.

Councillor Carl Sweeney, cabinet member for environment at the council, said: “We are delighted to have once again been recognised by APSE.

“The highways network is the backbone of Wigan Borough’s economy and the council recognises the importance of maintaining its infrastructure to a high standard.

“Our teams work around the clock in all weathers to keep the borough moving. We are so proud to have this national recognition.”

On an annual basis the service will identify and repair 14,000 potholes and the winter maintenance service will undertake 75 precautionary grits.

Based at Makerfield depot, facilities include a state-of-the-art salt barn that’s filled with 5,000 tonnes of gritting salt and space for the council’s ten multi-purpose gritting vehicles.

The council’s innovative street lighting programme has helped to significantly reduce the council’s energy consumption and lowered its carbon footprint with more than 36,500 LED lights fitted across the borough’s roads.

As well as saving £1m a year through reduced energy and operating costs the lights also have a number of other benefits in comparison to traditional sodium street lamps.

Coun Sweeney continued: “Some authorities are switching lights off to save money but we knew it isn’t what our residents wanted as they are an important part of helping people feel safe and secure both in their communities and while on the roads.

“This innovative scheme helps us to save money which in turn means we can keep council tax low through The Deal.”

The benchmarking is carried out by the Association for Public Sector Excellence (APSE) and uses performance data as a means to assess the quality, cost and productivity of frontline local government services.