New equipment is being used by Hampshire Highways to speed up the pruning process of overgrown branches on the road network. Using battery powered chainsaws and working from a raised tractor platform, teams are pruning overgrown trees along key bus routes to prevent damage to vehicles and ensure passenger safety.
In the past, highways teams have had to use a cherry picker to get to some of the higher branches, but the mobility of the new tractor and trailer system means there is no need for road closures. It means highways teams can make routes safe for buses while keeping disruption to drivers to a minimum.
Hampshire is continuing to buck the national trend with more people taking the bus to get around. This helps congestion at busy times and, in turn, helps improve air quality. We’re doing what we can to continue to make bus travel an attractive and viable transport option for people who live and work in Hampshire, and this is just one of many ways we are helping to do this.
We’re making significant financial and carbon savings with the introduction of zero emission vehicles for use by our streetworks team, inspecting utilities works, and in the day to day work of highways inspectors, engineers and technicians.
The electric vehicles have a range of over 150 miles and will cost only 2p per mile to run, compared with the 13p cost per mile of the diesel vehicles they have replaced.
Over the past decade, we’ve made over £30 million in carbon savings from our estate and operations. By the end of the year, 80 new electric car charging points will be installed across Hampshire, along with charging infrastructure at our offices and depots. It is part of a programme to convert all our small vehicle fleet to electric vehicles, helping to reduce emissions and improve air quality across Hampshire, and forms part of our wider commitment to embed environmental considerations in all the work we do.
These new highways vehicles are part of a total fleet of 28 Nissan leaf vehicles plus 7 Nissan e-NV200 Vans we have in use, with plans to increase this as current leases expire. All of these vehicles are supplied by Hampshire Transport Management who manage our transport fleet.
Reducing the incidence of flooding
Heavy, intense rainfall can, as we all know, result in localised flooding, and trying to keep surface water off Hampshire's 5,500 miles of road surfaces is at the forefront of our highways preventive maintenance work throughout the year.
Alongside our annual roadside ditch clearing programme and routine maintenance work on Hampshire’s gullies and catchpits, we’ve a programme of planned improvements to highways surface water drainage systems to make Hampshire’s road network more resilient to the effects of extreme weather.
Each year, around £2 million is earmarked for maintaining 900 kilometres of highway drains and roadside gullies, but there are many gullies and watercourses on private land which can become blocked without regular maintenance. These blockages can lead to flooding on local roads after heavy rainfall.
There is a lot we can all do to reduce the incidence of flooding in local communities and the County Council will do what it can on Highways drainage. Residents and landowners are being asked to make sure ditches and drains on their land are kept clear of leaves, vegetation and other debris so water can run freely through them, as this will complement our work and ensure that, collectively, we have done everything we can to reduce, or in many cases eliminate, the risk of local flooding.
More information on the work we carry out in the fight against flooding, and how you can be prepared