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Environment and Economy

The Director for Environment and Economy is Mike Harries.  The Directorate is responsible for the following service areas:

  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Highways including Emergency Planning
  • ICT and Customer Services
  • Communications and Engagement


The Economy Service is responsible for a range of functions that are important to Dorset's economy but which also underpin the three core principles of sustainable development: environmental, economic and social needs. The Service Director is Matthew Piles. 

Dorset Travel

Dorset Travel organises travel services for around 10,000 Dorset residents. We do this to meet statutory obligations to school children, including those with Special Educational Needs & Disability (SEND), and for vulnerable adults to attend day centres. We also support public transport in Dorset that cannot be provided economically, principally in rural areas, accounting for around one million journeys per year.

Superfast Dorset

Superfast Dorset is a partnership programme working to roll out faster, more reliable broadband across the county. Across the whole of Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole, the Superfast Dorset programme will help to provide:

  • 100% (as close as practicably possible) superfast broadband connectivity at 30Mbps by 2020
  • 50% connectivity to ultrafast services and businesses able to access faster services as required
  • 50% take up of superfast services by residents and businesses

Economy, Planning and Transport Service

Economy, Planning and Transport service is responsible for promoting the principles and practice of sustainability in Dorset County Council and across the county. There are four teams within Economy, Planning and Transport:

  • Economy and Enterprise
  • Dorset County Council planning policy, Minerals and waste planning policy
  • Transport Planning
  • Transportation Modelling

The service seeks to advise and support sustainable development in ways that make the most of, protect and improve Dorset's natural and historic environment. We improve the accessibility of communities and the delivery of services. The service develops and maintains the County Council's external relations and promotes Dorset's interests at sub-regional, national and European levels.

Business Support Services

Business support is responsible for supporting all services within the directorate and some other areas of the wider county council. 


The Environment Service covers strategy, policy and operations across both the natural and built environment and combines front-line service delivery in coast and countryside services with the key corporate function of property management (Dorset Property).

Coast and Countryside Service

The Coast & Countryside Service provides a range of services combining specialist environmental advice (on ecology, archaeology, heritage, landscape, coastal management, sustainable development and energy) with operational management of green space (countryside sites, Country Parks, Rights of Way, highway verges, grounds services and arboriculture), often delivered in partnership with others.

Dorset Property

Dorset Property provides property services to all parts of the county and other public sector clients. The Estate & Assets Service provides the County Council's 'corporate landlord' function, under which we hold property budgets and responsibilities as part of the strategy of rationalising the property estate and ensuring effective cost control and space and utilisation for property and accommodation. The Buildings & Construction Service delivers design, construction, repair and maintenance services to mainly internal but also external clients (other public bodies, schools and academies) to ensure that their property assets meet their needs throughout their life cycle.

Dorset Highways including Emergency Planning

Dorset County Council is the highway authority for Dorset, not including Bournemouth and Poole, and is responsible for maintaining roads and pavements except the A31 and A35 trunk roads, which are managed by Highways England.

We are primarily responsible for:

  • co-ordinating planned works, emergency works and events in order to minimise disruption
  • maintaining our highway in a suitable condition against the budget we have available
  • designing programmes of work to reduce the potential for road traffic collisions
  • managing improvements and additional infrastructure on the highway network (including new developments)

Emergency Planning

The Emergency Planning Service delivers the requirements of the Civil Contingencies Act, regulations, protocols and other key work that is required for contingency and resilience planning. The team supports the County Council  to meet its corporate objectives by enhancing civil resilience preparedness within the community and environment of Dorset. The service maintains a 24/7 on-call function to enable the activation and coordination of Dorset County Council resources and also the coordination of other services including the voluntary agencies who play a significant role during emergencies.

ICT and Customer Services

The service provides the strategic lead for customer services and digital technology for the council as well as operational services that support the council's front-line services. The service's responsibilities include:

  • Digital and customer services strategy
  • Technology strategy
  • Dorset Direct - the council's customer services centre
  • Operational ICT services covering all aspects from networks and servers through desktop and mobile to business application support

Digital Strategy

We aim to become a digital council. We have been pursuing a programme of improving customer service and reducing costs through making our top transactions, such as reporting a missed bin or pothole, available on-line through our highly rated web site, which we share with the district and borough councils in Dorset.

Technology Strategy

We have adopted a 'cloud first' technology strategy, under which we rent our technology services - such as server capacity and office software - rather than buying and running them ourselves. We have embarked on our cloud journey and we are already seeing benefits in how we can share and collaborate with other partners more easily than when services were 'locked' in our network.

Dorset Direct

We are very proud of our customer services centre, which deals with telephone, email and online (including social media and webchat) contact for most of the council's services including adult social care, highways and the Dorset Waste Partnership.  As well as providing high levels of customer satisfaction, we use the insight we get into why people are contacting us to drive improvement across council services.

Communications and Engagement

The Communications and Engagement unit is responsible for overseeing communications functions for the authority as a whole, covering internal and external working. The unit provides a media and public relations function, electronic communication and takes lead with issues such as corporate branding. The unit operates within the terms of a communications strategy which everyone in the authority has a responsibility to work towards.

Design and Print Service

The unit is able to provide a graphic design and printing service for all public bodies within Dorset. The work ranges from business cards, to the production and printing of glossy, four-colour, promotional work. Free advice is available to all customers including everything from quotations, information on production, choice of paper, design and layout and the binding of completed work.

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