CHANCELLOR FOLLOWS ROAD MAINTENANCE FAILURE OF HIS PREDECESSORS

“In his Spring Budget Philip Hammond, has failed to address the decades of under-investment in road maintenance,” said Howard Robinson, chief executive of the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA). “His budget has no recognition that a well- maintained and efficient local road network supports the national economy. Instead we have a local road network that is increasingly Third World.”

RSTA has renewed its support of the calls by the Local Government Association to address the decades of under-investment in the local road network by injecting a further £1 billion a year into roads maintenance. The additional funding could be found by investing just 2p per litre of the existing fuel duty without any need to increase fuel duty rates.

The Chancellor announced £690m funding competition for local authorities to tackle congestion and to get local transport networks moving. “Some highway authorities have seen a 50% reduction in their road maintenance budgets. It is a pity that they will have to spend precious resources on competing for funding,” said Robinson.

Although the Department for Transport did announce in January 2017 funding of £1.2 billion for English local roads for the period 2017-18. That does not address the staggering £12 billion necessary to address the current backlog of repairs and potholes and bring the road network up to an acceptable standard.

The £1.2 billion funding includes £210 million from the National Productivity Investment Fund as announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement, £801 million Local Highways Maintenance Funding – Needs Element, £70 million from the Pothole Action fund, £75 million from the Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund where local highway authorities have to compete for funding and a further £75 million from the Highways Maintenance Incentive Element which requires completion of a self-assessment questionnaire ‘in order to reward those who demonstrate they truly understand the value of their asset’.

“It is disappointing that the Chancellor fails to appreciate the social and economic benefits of a well-maintained local road network,” said Robinson. “We note that that from 1 April 2017 vehicle excise duty rates for cars, vans and motorcycles registered before April 2017 will increase by Retail Prices Index (RPI) while VED for HGVs and the Road User Levy rates will be frozen. We call upon the Chancellor to consider channelling the funds from the VED rate increase towards road maintenance.”

CSCS Cards with Industry Accreditation

CSCS, under the direction of the Construction Leadership Council, will be removing the Industry Accreditation “IA” (AKA Grandfather Rights) category for CSCS cards.

This route has been closed to new operatives since 2010 but those historically holding their CSCS cards with IA have been able to renew as normal.

This route will be closing and the card holder will need to achieve the appropriate qualification for their role.

There is no confirmed date for this and so for now those holding CSCS cards through IA will be able to renew, but need to be aware that this will change in the near future.

Further information can be found at https://www.cscs.uk.com/news/industry-accreditation/

PETITION GOVERNMENT FOR MORE SPENDING ON FIXING POTHOLES

The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has set-up a parliamentary petition urging the government to invest an additional 2p per litre of the existing fuel duty to fix the plague of potholes afflicting the local road network.

The petition may be found at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/183637

Decades of under investment in local road maintenance has resulted in a pothole bill of £12 billion. Despite this, lack of funding means that highway authorities are having to reduce their road maintenance budgets. Investing just 2p per litre of the existing fuel duty would provide an extra £1 billion per year to address this.

“A further £1 billion annual investment would certainly help local authorities tackle the damage done by under-investment by successive governments,” argued Howard Robinson, RSTA chief executive. “We urge all drivers to sign the petition so that Parliament will have to debate the issue of our potholed, deteriorating roads.” 100,000 signatures are required before the petition can be considered by Parliament.

 

 

 

 

NATIONAL POTHOLE DAY: THE VITAL STATISTICS

As part of National Pothole Day 2017, the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has published a compendium of facts and figures behind the UK’s deteriorating local road network together with a call for action to address the sorry state of affairs.

The 2016 statistics, pulled from a wide range of sources, underline the result of decades of under-investment in maintaining the UK’s most important infrastructure asset. According to the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey it would cost £11.8 billion and take 14 years to fix the current backlog of pothole repairs. The Local Government Association reports that the government plans to invest £1.1 million per mile of motorway and trunk road which accounts for just 3% of the total road network yet will spend only £27,000 per mile on local roads despite their making up 97% of the total road network and carrying two-thirds of all traffic. Meanwhile, motoring organisation RAC states that last year 31,483 compensation claims for vehicle damage were submitted against councils and the AA reports that 39% of its members’ vehicles have suffered from pothole damage.

“The evidence is there for all to see, and for tyres and axles to be damaged despite the best efforts of councils in repairing over 2 million potholes last year. The magnitude of the task due to decades of under-investment means that the local road network continues on its downward spiral”, said Howard Robinson, RSTA chief executive.

RSTA has called for a number of actions to address this continued deterioration. This includes government realising the need for proper levels of predicted, long-term maintenance funding that should be ring-fenced for local road spending and investing an additional annual £1 billion that come from providing an additional 2p from the existing fuel duty. In addition, all local highway authorities should sign up to best practice asset management to ensure that they have the most cost-effective maintenance approach and all road users should keep up the pressure by reporting all potholes that need repair.

“National Pothole Day is about focussing attention on the poor state of our local road network. The facts and figures compiled by RSTA underline how necessary that focus is”, said Robinson

‘Potholes: The Vital Statistics’ is available as a free download from www.rsta-uk.org

ROADS MAINTENANCE SECTOR BACKS CALLS FOR EXTRA £1 BILLION A YEAR

The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) supports calls by the Local Government Association (LGA) to address the decades of under-investment in the local road network by injecting a further £1 billion a year into roads maintenance. The additional funding could be found by investing just 2p per litre of the existing fuel duty without any need to increase fuel duty rates.

LGA has made its call following analysis that shows the pothole repair bill could reach £14 billion within two years. The total amount needed to bring the country’s local road network up to a reasonable standard has been rising as the impact of under-investment is compounded by the demands of increase traffic growth. In 2012, is was estimated that £9.8 billion was needed to repair the pothole backlog. This rose to £11.8 billion in 2016. At this current rate is it predicted to rise to £14 billion by 2019.

The LGA points out that over the remaining years of the decade the Government will invest more than £1.1 million per mile in maintaining national roads – which make up just 3 per cent of all total roads. This level of investment contrasts starkly with the £27,000 per mile investment in maintaining local roads, which are controlled by councils and make up 97 per cent of England’s road network.

“The result is that routine road maintenance budgets have to be cut and the state of local roads will continue to deteriorate in comparison to the well-resourced national road network”, said Howard Robinson, RSTA chief executive.

He continued: Cash strapped local highway authorities are doing what they can and over the last year they have filled in over 2 million potholes. However, the lack of assured real long-term funding means that much of this is expensive reactive repair rather than cost-effective preventative maintenance that would have prevented the potholes from forming in the first place. This has long been the logical economic argument forwarded by the road maintenance industry. It costs only £2m2 to surface dress and maintain a road for 10 years but costs an average £57m2 to repair one pothole.

A further £1 billion annual investment would certainly help local authorities tackle the damage done by under-investment by successive governments.”

AUTUMN STATEMENT FAILS LOCAL ROAD NETWORKS – Response from the Road Surface Treatments Association

Chancellor Philip Hammond has failed to address the fundamental issue facing the UK’s transport infrastructure – there is little point in making significant investments in headline projects if the roads that connect them are potholed and crumbling away.

“Unfortunately, the Chancellor has today has shown the same lack of understanding as his predecessors. The £1.1 billion announced in today’s Autumn Statement for local transport networks will do little to address the decades of underinvestment in load road maintenance which has resulted in a £12 billion backlog of pothole repairs”, said Howard Robinson, chief executive of the Roads Surface Treatments Association (RSTA).

He continued: “The Chancellor makes much of the need to invest in infrastructure to prove that Britain is open for business. Yet over 90 per cent of our traffic is carried by a local road network that is simply not up to scratch. He has failed to understand that the local road network is the essential link to headline projects such as the Cambridge to Oxford expressway.

Investment in infrastructure may be summed up by the idiom ‘learn to walk before you run’. Invest in fundamental and essential road maintenance before you announce grand projects. Or do both.”

INCREASED TRAFFIC DEMONSTRATES THE NEED FOR WELL MAINTAINED ROADS

New traffic level estimated from the Department for Transport (DfT) underlined the need for greater investment to improve the condition of the UK’s road network.

Provisional road traffic estimates for Great Britain for the year ending September 2016 show that traffic levels rose by 1.4% to a new record level that is 1.8% higher than the previous peak in September 2007. It total, there were 320 billion vehicles miles travelled on the road network between September 2015 and September 2016.

“Decades of under investment in road maintenance means that our network, in particular the local road network, is unable to cope with the amount of traffic that uses it. This is confirmed by the unacceptable high levels of deterioration and potholes”, said Howard Robinson, chief executive of the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA). “Over £12 billion is necessary to bring the condition of the local road network up to an acceptable standard. The ongoing severe budgetary pressures on local authorities means that they unable to commit to the necessary investment for programmes of long-term road maintenance.”

He continued: “These traffic figures should be a wake-up call for the Chancellor. His forthcoming Autumn Statement should include real funding investment in road maintenance to ensure that the network is in a fit state to cope with the increased traffic pressures”.

ROADS INDUSTRY WELCOMES MAJOR ROAD NETWORK PROPOSALS

“At last a joined-up approach to our road network”, was the response from the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) welcoming the publication of the Rees Jeffrey’s Report “A Major Road Network for England”.

The report calls for the recognition of an 8,000 mile Major Road Network (MRN) that includes the 4,200 miles of the Strategic Road Network (SRN) of motorways and trunk roads run by Highways England and a further 3,800 miles of strategic local authority controlled A roads. Together they represent 4 per cent of England’s roads that carry 43 per cent of its traffic.

Given the strategic importance of the MRN, the report believes that there should be equal recognition between the SRN and local authority A roads. Both should have the same planning and funding certainty. Currently, the government has committed a £15 billion five year plan of investment in the SRN. Local authorities who are responsible for 98% of England’s roads have no such certainty. They have had to cut road maintenance as part of the government’s austerity programme and face complex capital funding arrangements without any certainty of five-year commitments. The result is a £12 billion back log of potholes and essential repairs.

“Central government seems to be unable to understand that the local road network is the essential link to the strategic road network. The establishment of a properly programmed and funded major road network is the joined up approach that our road network needs”, said Howard Robinson, RSTA chief executive.

Robinson welcomed the calls for funding from the National Road Fund to be made available for both strategic roads and local roads and for greater collaboration between Highways England and local authorities via initiatives such as sub-national transport bodies.

“A well-maintained national and regional road network that has a committed programme of investment is essential for the country’s economic and social well-being. The report from Rees Jeffrey’s offers a cohesive alternative to the mismatched funding between the SRN and strategically important A roads”, said Robinson.