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The life-expectancy of a roads in the UK could be increased, and potholes significantly reduced if local authorities and their private sector contractors adopt a more proactive approach to highway maintenance alongside other treatments such as resurfacing. 

This would mean central government would eventually be spending far less on reactive repairs such as filling in potholes by adopting a ‘prevention is better than’ cure approach to highway maintenance funding, rather than ‘papering over the cracks’ with pothole repairs.

Speaking ahead of the launch of this year’s ALARM survey, Paul Boss, Chief Executive of the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA), said it has been demonstrated with clear evidence that using surface treatments saves costs and significantly reduces carbon, as the cost of reactive repairs continues to rise.

Mr Boss said: “It is clear that we have got to the point where the industry needs to come together to help provide roads that are in better condition for longer. While we should accept that the only remedy for roads in poor condition is resurfacing or Insitu recycling, we should be trying to stop more of those good, or green roads falling into disrepair by applying surface treatments to help protect and preserve them so we can divert funding to other priorities. Surface treatments hold the key to stop potholes forming in the first place, keeping roads in -good condition.”

He added: “I have no doubt this year’s ALARM survey will call for more funding and report and a rise in roads that have limited structural life left as the repair backlog rises and, I agree. But, it isn’t just more funds we need but a new approach to how that funding is spent. There shouldn’t just be one or two ways of addressing the repair backlog and local authorities should be incentivised and encouraged to use all of the tools available to them to stop the need for reactive repairs happening being required in the first place.”