An update from Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council

When I last wrote to you a few weeks ago the rain was still pouring down. Now it’s great to see this spell of warmer, dry weather – not least as it’s allowing us to start to make real progress on repairing Buckinghamshire’s roads under our new Buckinghamshire Highways contract. There is still a great deal to do but you should soon be seeing the difference.

Road repairs
We’ve made a number of changes to speed up the number of repairs we can complete, plus have been able to keep works on track with the much drier weather. These two factors mean we’re making good progress, despite the record numbers of reported ‘potholes’ on our roads this winter/spring.

Since 1 April we have:

  • repaired more than 2,400 potholes and counting – now completing nearly 700 jobs a week
  • increased the number of crews doing this work from six to fifteen and they’re working seven days a week
  • introduced our time-saving, three-in-one Pothole Pro machine which uses an ‘all in one’ process to cut and prepare the surface ready to finish the repair
  • brought in overnight working on some schemes to complete high priority works as quickly as possible
  • made use of our emergency powers to fast-track essential repairs
  • got our extended ‘plan and patch’ programme and wider maintenance and improvements programme underway in earnest
  • continued to clean and fix Buckinghamshire’s 85,000 gullies

As both a driver and a cyclist on Buckinghamshire’s roads, I am beginning to notice the difference and I travel to many parts of the county every week. I am not complacent. I know there’s still a lot of work to be done but we are doing everything we can to get round the repairs, prioritising the most serious defects.

Please continue to report any problems using the Fix My Street link on the council’s website.

HS2 update
As well as our own roads repairs, we have been lobbying HS2 hard over many issues and invited the House of Commons ‘HS2 Select Committee’ to Buckinghamshire last week to see for themselves the significant damage caused.

This week I also met with the Government Minister for HS2 and again explained to him that it is essential that HS2 makes repairs as the damage is done and not at the end of the construction in many years’ time. I stressed that it is fundamentally unfair to expect the local Council Tax payers to have to pay for this work. The council is working hard to seek recompense from HS2 for essential repairs.

The Amersham ‘sinkhole’
We also raised another urgent matter with HS2 in recent days, namely about a large sinkhole (a large collapse in the ground) that has appeared near Amersham, at Little Missenden, where HS2 are tunnelling under The Chilterns. We immediately held urgent senior meetings with HS2 to demand to know what had caused this and what action was proposed to repair this sinkhole. Even more importantly what was being done to anticipate and prevent further problems, as HS2 tunnels under the local river and environmentally sensitive aquifer.

I visited the site with my Environment Cabinet member, Cllr Gareth Williams, and our HS2 Marshal, Steve Hall. Since then there have been site visits with HS2 and meetings with the Environment Agency team, to seek robust reassurance that this is being addressed and that lessons are being learned.

We have long warned about the risks of tunnelling into chalk in the Chilterns and we are asking HS2 to keep us, and, of course, the local community, fully updated. HS2 have said the hole will be filled in within 1-2 weeks with the farmland being fully restored. We will obviously be watching this very closely, alongside close general monitoring of any other impacts of the HS2 tunnelling activity.

If you have anything relating to HS2 or East West Rail activity to report, please contact our HS2 marshals on


Buckinghamshire Council Annual Report
We know the last year has been one of the most challenging on record and it continues to be a key priority to keep delivering support to our residents in the best way that we can through these hard times, alongside continuing to deliver on the priorities that matter most; fixing roads, protecting our environment, combatting Climate Change, looking after the vulnerable people who need us and providing more good quality affordable housing for local people, especially young people and key workers.

You can read the council’s Annual Report using this link, which outlines our work and plans in detail. You can also see the important work our local community boards are doing in your own and other local areas across Bucks in the Community Boards Annual Report. (click on this link).

I continue to be extremely proud of the resilience of our residents, members, partners, and staff, who always rise to the challenge of delivering services and supporting residents.


Government’s Energy Support Scheme
A final note; all residents have been able, over the winter, to access support from the government towards energy bills through the Energy Bills Support Scheme. For the vast majority, this will already have been paid automatically.

For a few people who live ‘off grid’, if you have not already received this payment, you are still entitled to it and need to apply before the cut-off date next week of Wed 31 May. Please go to the council’s website for more information.

Please enjoy the sunshine and look after yourselves and those you care about.


Martin Tett

Leader of Buckinghamshire Council