|To the Lead Petitioner Ringway contract and the maintaining the highways and weed control in St Albans We are sorry to hear that some people are unhappy with the service in St Albans and are grateful to you for bringing this to our attention via a petition. As part of ongoing maintenance, Hertfordshire County Council and its highway contractor Ringway, cuts grass on highways verges around the whole of the county; covering a huge area and dealing with around 1.5 million square metres of highway grass in the St Albans district alone. We aim to reach each area as quickly as possible, although this work is extremely weather dependant. The recent mix of sunshine and heavy showers means grass and vegetation grow really quickly and is not cut when wet since this causes damage to the verge as well as chewing up the grass. I would like to reassure you that the County Council do monitor and manage (including independent auditing) the performance of its highway contractor Ringway in the delivery of this service to ensure the contract service standards and specifications are met. We also continue to monitor and review the service to improve delivery ‘on the ground’ as much as possible within our limited budget. Grass During the early part of the season, Ringway addressed localised concerns across the district; since then, Ringway has settled into a programmed cycle for cutting the urban grass, which will be operated for the remainder of the season. Ringway has revised their operation from last year, increasing the teams from four to six dedicated crews for St Albans. We anticipate that the urban grass in each of the areas within St Albans will take approximately 2 weeks to cut. Once all of the urban grass in an area is cut, the area team will begin cutting in the same order as the previous 2-week cycle and so on. Ringway are currently completing the seventh cut of the season. Last year we were cutting the grass every three weeks. However, with the continued rapid grass growth, following the wet and warm weather in June, we are now cutting every two weeks. We have also experienced some difficulties in missing some areas but these have since been rectified and will continue to be monitored. The areas of grass across the district that require a rural swathe cut are cut twice a year (the first cut was completed in June and the second cut is planned for late September, early October), with the exception of grass that might impede visibility at junctions etc. This grass will be cut more frequently to maintain sight lines. This programme will operate outside of the urban grass cutting cycle outlined above. Weeds Weeds spraying started in May but has been continually hindered by the wet weather, the weed treatment requires the foliage to be dry when applied and then for a further four hours following treatment. Not all of the road channels and footways are scheduled for treatment. The completion of the first treatment is anticipated to be by the end of the first week in July although this is very much dependent of the weather staying dry. I trust the above addresses the concerns raised. We appreciate that some residents would prefer that verges in some areas were cut sooner, but hope they understand that we have large areas of the county to maintain. Should you require more information on the areas of grass that are cut and the roads scheduled for weed treatment please contact Craig Kilmartin, Hertfordshire County Council Assistant Asset Manager.