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Localism opportunity for funding local highway work

Surrey County Council has launched its new Localism scheme which has replaced the Parish Council lengthsman scheme, with the aim of conserving and enhancing the character of the county, retaining attractive towns, villages and countryside.

We want to be able to provide more local influence and involvement by making the use of highways budgets available to local committees.

The Localism scheme allows parish and town councils and other local organisations to bid for works to be done to their local area. This can be done through volunteering or employing a local contractor. The tasks involved are varied and further information on what work could be done is available on this page.

Use the index links below to jump to information further down the page.

Type of work included in the scheme (subject to agreement)

Funding can be used for works that would normally be carried out by the highway authority, for example:

  • Grass cutting
  • Cutting back vegetation overhanging the road or footway
  • Clearing footways of weeds/moss
  • Removing vegetation from parapets or fences
  • Signs, excluding street name plates (including reflector posts) eg: cleaning, minor repairs.
  • Drainage for example: localised ditching, cleaning channels.
  • Storm debris and litter

There are instances where hedges, ditches etc are not maintained by the highway authority and would therefore not be eligible for Localism funding. Your Local Highway Officer will be able to support you in your bid.

Requirements to consider before applying

  • Anyone carrying out work on the highway must have
  • A minimum of £5 million Public Liability Insurance.
  • Relevant training and experience. See info pack below for further info.

How to apply?

A necessary step for interested local organisations is to engage with the county councillor for the area to see if they would support local committee funding

Please complete the bid form and return it to and your county councillor (details for Surrey County Councillors are available here).

Once you have submitted your bid it will be checked and agreed by officers in the Highways Service before being formally agreed by the divisional member or local committee.

What funding is available?

Budgets are agreed at local committees at the beginning of each calendar year and set for the financial year ahead. If you would like your bid to be considered then contact your local county councillor and Local Highway Officer now.

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Frequently asked questions

Do you cover admin fee's as part of our localism bid?

Unfortunately this is not something we will pay out for. The bids which are funded are only paid to cover works carried out by the lengthsman.

We are a residents group – can we also apply?

If you are a formally established local organisation, with a group bank account then get in touch with us on and we can explore how you might be able to get involved in helping to carry out Highways tasks in your local area.

Can we use our existing contractors?

Yes you may wish to use an existing contractor if they are able to do the work and it is good value for money. They will need to meet health and safety, insurance and training requirements.

Can we use this money to be trained?

If you/your contractor need specific training to carry out the work you may apply for support in paying for this. There are some conditions to this financial support. Please see the information pack for further details

Can we use volunteers for this work?

Yes, but they would need to meet all health and safety, insurance and training requirements. Highways officers can advise.

Is it better if we do this work with our neighbouring parishes?

If you are a small parish council, it may be worth sharing the work across neighbouring parishes as the administrative work can be shared, the support from other parishes may help you resolve any problems, and you may get better value for money. There are models to look at/talk to in Surrey if you need more information. Contact the email address for more advice.

What monitoring are we required to do?

As the work is underway you will need to monitor it throughout, liaising with the local Highways team if needed. There is a six month monitoring form to return and feedback at the end of the year.

What are our responsibilities if we are a lead parish for the group?

You will be taking the lead on managing the scheme for the group of parishes, so for example managing the work of a contractor, monitoring, reviewing delivery, coordinating any issues and communicating with the parishes in the group and Highways, setting up any meetings as required. It may be that some of this work can be shared with the other parishes from the start.

Who is responsible for risk assessments?

The contractor will need to have assessed the risks and act accordingly. As the employing organisation you would need to make sure this has happened. If you are doing the work, this will be your responsibility.

What happens if we can't get some of the jobs done?

Talk to the local Highways officers as soon as you think there may be a problem. If the issue cannot be rectified and the tasks continue to be outstanding, there may be a need to return some funding.

Will there be money in the future?

Popularity of the scheme has increased since its launch in 2013 and last year, bids exceeded the available budget. Before submitting your bid, it is important to speak with the Local Highway Officer and ensure works comply with the guidance document first.

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Files available to download