The majority of services enjoyed by residents of The Lee are delivered by Buckinghamshire Council (BC) and not The Lee Parish Council. The BC website, although comprehensive, can at times be difficult to navigate, so below are a few links and hints to help smooth the way. The various topics covered are:
The most common complaint about roads is the number of potholes. The most important thing is to report a pothole when you see it; regular inspections by Bucks Council are scheduled annually and, whilst The Lee councillors carry out additional inspections, they cannot be aware of all new potholes as and when they occur. If BC don’t know about a pothole they can’t fix it!
All potholes should be reported using FixMyStreet. A few tips are:
- if possible upload a picture or two
- give the location so as it can easily be found by a maintenance crew, also indicating whether it is at the side of the road or in the middle
- state if the road is a bus route
- give the dimensions of the hole
Each pothole is assigned a rating for both probability (the inspector’s assessment of likelihood of the defect affecting the safe passage of vehicles along the highway, or affecting the structural integrity of the highway following an assessment of the road hierarchy and the location of the defect within the road) and impact (quantified by assessing the extent of damage likely to be caused should the risk be realised, based on the size of the hole and typical road usage), to determine the categorisation. Multiplying the probability rating by the impact rating gives a risk score, which in turn determines the categorisation and schedule by which it will be repaired.
Very High (4)
|Cat 2L||Cat 2L||Cat 2L||Cat 2L|
|Cat 2L (1)||Cat 2L (2)||Cat 2M (3)||Cat 2M (4)|
|Cat 2L (2)||Cat 2M (4)||Cat 2H (6)||Cat 2H (8)|
|Cat 2M (3)||Cat 2H (6)||Cat 1 (9)||Cat 1 (12)|
Very High (4)
|Cat 2M (4)||Cat 2H (8)||Cat 1 (12)||Emergency (16)|
- Score of 1 to 2: Cat 2L
- Score of 3 to 4: Cat 2M
- Score of 6 to 8: Cat 2H
- Score of 9 to 12: Cat 1
- Score of Over 12: Emergency
Note: Scoring does not apply to defects with Minor or Emergency Impact/Severity
The timescales and follow up actions by BC for fixing the different categories of pothole are:
|Cat 2L||N/A||Consider repair within future programmes of planned maintenance works|
|Cat 2M||28 DAYS||No temporary repair necessary. Attend and permanently repair within 28 days|
|Cat 2H||5 DAY||Attend within 5 working days and make safe or permanently repair. If repair is temporary then raise additional Cat 2M defect for permanent repair within 28 days|
|Cat 1||2 DAY||Attend within 2 working days and make safe or permanently repair. If repair is temporary then raise additional Cat 2M defect for permanent repair within 28 days|
|Emergency||2 HOUR||Attend within 2 hours and subsequently make safe or permanently repair. If repair is temporary then raise additional Cat 2M defect for permanent repair within 28 days|
To put some examples on this, potholes in the centre of the road of more than 300mm (12″) across horizontally or 75 mm (3”) deep should be dealt with rapidly (2 hour response time) because these are always classified as a significant hazard. They should be reported by calling 01296 382 416. At the other end of the scale, potholes less than 300mm (12”) across horizontally or less than 40mm (1 9/16″) deep are unlikely to warrant an inspection. Potholes at the edge of a road, are deemed to be less of a risk, so the thresholds for repair may be higher.
Further information about the frequency of inspections by BC can be found in the Bucks Highway Inspection Policy, whilst full details of the categorisation and associated repair times of potholes can be found in the Buckinghamshire Highway Safety Inspections document. Please note that both are dated 2019, but are still current.
There are three kinds of repair that can be made:
- make-safe which are temporary repairs made at short notice for particularly bad potholes, and consist of little more than pouring some tar into the hole
- jet-patching which will patch the area of road around potholes, and which would usually follow on some months after a make-safe repair – when the jet-patcher is on site, it will usually fix the majority of potholes close by not just those which have prompted its visit
- full road resurfacing
Finally, the ever present subject of compensation for suspension and tyres damaged by potholes. BC are only liable to pay compensation if they have been notified of a pothole and fail to repair it within the committed timescales. If you lose a tyre and no-one has reported the pothole, you won’t be able to claim compensation. Reporting a pothole may not help your claim, but it will help the next person.
Flytipping on public land should also be reported using FixMyStreet. Again please provide as much information as possible:
- give the location so as it can easily be found by a refuse crew, also indicating whether it is at the side of the road or in the middle
- description of the kind of rubbish that has been dumped
- if known, approximately when the rubbish was dumped
- if possible upload a picture or two
- if you’ve seen the rubbish being dumped, include the vehicle registration number of the offender
As with potholes, the impact of the flytipping will be assessed; a large heap of rubbish completely blocking a narrow lane will be removed more rapidly than a small heap at the side of the road which is unsightly but not impeding anyone.
Abandoned vehicles should be reported here.
Footpaths and bridleways
There is sometimes some confusion as to the status of a particular path, and what is and isn’t permitted on it. The Bucks Rights of Way map clearly shows all paths and their designation.
A footpath is defined as a highway “over which the public has a right of way on foot only”, so horse riders and cyclists are restricted to bridleways and byways. A landowner may however, at their discretion, give permission for horses and bicycles to be ridden on footpaths; anyone riding a horse or bicycle on a footpath without such permission is trespassing. Horse drawn and powered vehicles are not permitted.
Local authorities have a duty under section 122 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 “to secure the expeditious, convenient and safe movement of vehicular and other traffic (including pedestrians)”. Given this duty, in situations where horse riding or cycling on footpaths is causing a problem to other users, the local authority – in our case Buckinghamshire Council – could use their powers to make bylaws or traffic regulation orders preventing this use. The Lee Parish Council is not however aware of any such orders within the parish.
A bridleway can be used by pedestrians, horses and cyclists but horse drawn or powered vehicles are not permitted.
A byway open to all traffic (BOAT) is a highway over which the public have a right of way for vehicular and all other kinds of traffic but which is used by the public mainly for the same purposes as footpaths and bridleways.
Restricted byways are limited to use on foot, on horseback or by a vehicle other than mechanically propelled vehicles; horse drawn carriages are permitted.
If you encounter a problem when out walking, be it a blocked footpath, broken stile, locked gate, missing or misleading signposts or waymarks etc., it should be reported to Bucks Council. Depending on the problem, Bucks will either fix it themselves, delegate the work to volunteers from the Chiltern Society or contact the landowner – but the first step is always to report it to Bucks. This can be done by logging in to the Bucks Rights of Way map.
Waste disposal and rubbish collection
Rubbish collections are weekly, with alternate weeks for:
- general rubbish and food waste
- recycling, garden waste and food waste
The following links will help you to find:
the schedule of which type of collection is due in which week
the types of recycling available
how to order a green bin for garden waste
how to report a missed collection
known missed collections
Household recycling centre
If you have rubbish to take to the dump for disposal or recycling, there is a map of Household Waste and Recycling Centres. Click on the recycling symbol on the map to find details of opening times.
Environmental health and nuisance
It is not always straightforward to identify environmental nuisance and risks to environmental health, but these guidelines may help to avoid problems and point you in the right direction should you need to make a complaint.
Statutory nuisance from bonfire smoke is a difficult area to police and enforce. To be a statutory nuisance it must unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises or injure health or be likely to injure health.
You can report any bonfire causing a nuisance to Bucks Council but need to be aware that, by the time the council investigate, the nuisance has usually gone; they set a fairly high benchmark before they will take any action. There are no local by-laws and, apart from talking to the neighbour and reminding residents to respect others, there are no easy solutions.
Guidelines for residents to ensure that their bonfires don’t create a nuisance include:
- Compost as much garden waste as possible, or dispose of it using the green bin service, rather than having a bonfire.
- Use a garden incinerator to burn waste material.
- Do not burn wet or green garden waste which will create heavy smoke. Only waste such as diseased plants and material which is difficult to compost should be burnt, with clippings allowed to dry and turn brown before burning.
- Make sure that bonfires do not cause any risk or danger to children, pet animals, other wildlife or nature in the area.
- Ensure that bonfires and smoke from bonfires do not affect nearby traffic or roads; choose your bonfire site carefully keeping well away from boundary fences and hedges.
- Do not light a bonfire during warm daylight hours or evenings when neighbours have washing drying, are in their gardens and/or have windows open.
- Do not burn plastics or other materials that will cause smoke, toxic fumes or pollution of any kind, nor anything that may damage the soil.
- Do burn material quickly in small quantities so the minimum amount of smoke is created.
- Don’t leave a bonfire unattended at any time.
- Beware of lighting a bonfire when there are unstable weather conditions, for example on a windy day when it can easily get out of control.
Living as we do surrounded by farmland, the smell of compost and manure at certain times of year is to be expected.
Buckinghamshire Council sets out within its Environmental Health mandate what kind of smells they can address, but advises maintaining an odour diary in support of any formal complaint. They also strongly recommend discussion and mediation before taking a complaint any further.