The Asphalt Industry Alliance’s (AIA) says that over the past decade, cash-strapped local authorities have spent more than £1 billion on simply filling in potholes.
Short-term cash injections do little to tackle the vicious circle local authority highway teams are in, where the need to mend potholes on failing roads prevents much-needed funds being used to carry out the planned, proactive road maintenance that could help prevent potholes forming in the first place, it says.
Rick Green, chairman of the AIA, explained: “Investing in our local roads makes sound long-term economic sense but Roadfile (www.Roadusers.org), our online hub for road-related statistics, highlights that the UK is falling behind some other major EU countries when it comes to spending on local roads.
“While the additional funding announced by Government in November’s Budget, has been well received, it’s a fraction of the £1.5bn extra a year, for 10 years, that we believe is needed to bring roads back up to target conditions allowing them to be maintained in a cost-effective way in the future.”
The AIA advocates that a longer-term funding commitment to local roads would enable hard-pressed local authorities to invest to save, so that local roads can be brought up to target conditions allowing them to be maintained in a cost-effective way in the future.
The AIA is a partnership between the Mineral Products Association (MPA) and Eurobitume UK. It aims to increase awareness of the asphalt industry and promote the uses and benefits of asphalt to specifiers, policy makers and the general public.
Each year the AIA commissions the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey to provide a detail picture of local road funding and maintenance issues. Running for more than 20 years, ALARM is recognised as providing robust and reliable data on local road issues.
The AIA’s calls for an additional £1.5bn per annum for local roads would bring annual local road network spending to £2.6bn – the equivalent of £12,000 per mile of local road – still a long way behind funding levels for the Strategic Road Network (SRN).
ALARM reports that local authorities need £9.3bn to bring the network up to scratch.