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Revised Policy and Procedure documents have been issued for Skidding Resistance by the RSTA and Xais

The revised documents have been issued to take account of CS228 replacing HD28/15 in Autumn 2019. There are now 3 documents, Template Skidding Resistance Annex to CS228, that replaces the previous 2 documents, Skidding Resistance Policy and Skidding Resistance Procedure, along with a supplementary guidance document and a Statistical Report on Collision Buffer Review, that provides statistical analysis and report to justify the variation from CS228. The RSTA/Xais revised Skidding Resistance documents are available as free download from our guidance on best practice or using the links below

Skidding Resistance Annex to CS228(2020)

Guidance to Template Skidding Resistance Annex (2020)

RSTA-Xais Statistical Report on Collision Buffer Review (2020)


The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has responded to criticisms of the use surface dressing to repair and improve roads in Oxfordshire.

West Oxfordshire district councillor Dan Levy had criticised the use of surface dressing to restore and improve road surface skid resistance and prevent potholes from forming complaining that the initial loose chippings are unpleasant for cyclists when they are thrown up by passing vehicles.

Surface dressing involves the spray application of an emulsion binder onto a prepared road surface followed immediately by the application of chippings and roller compaction. Part of the application process is the requirement for temporary speed restrictions for 2 – 3 days to prevent chippings from being torn out of the new road surface before being properly embedded. It is during this period that road users who fail to abide by the advised speed restrictions report problems of loose chippings.

“Surface dressing plays an important role in keeping roads in a safe condition,” said Rory O’Connor, RSTA interim chief executive. “For cyclists, its use to repair and improve road surfaces is particularly welcomed as it seals the road and so prevent potholes from forming. Deteriorating road surfaces and potholes, as every cyclist will agree, can be particularly dangerous.”

The cycling organisation Cycling UK reports that from 2007 to 2018 a ‘poor or defective road surface’ was recorded by police as being a contributory factor that resulted in the death of 26 cyclists. The organisation goes on to report that 12% of all legal claims handled by its Incident Line are due to poor road maintenance and it calls for local authorities to “devote more of their resources to road surface renewal and resurfacing programmes.”

O’Connor continued: “Far from criticising Oxfordshire County Council for undertaking its surface dressing programme, the Council should be commended for investing £32 million to maintain and improve its road network thereby ensuring that it is safe for both cyclists and motorists.”

More information regarding road surface dressing for motorcyclists (and cyclists)


A new industry guidance note from the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) and ADEPT provides best practice guidance and technical information for the application of asphalt surface course preservation treatments.

Asphalt preservation involves the spray application of a sealant treatment onto bituminous-bound road surfaces that consequently restricts water ingress and inhibits binder oxidation. By providing a protective seal, the treatment can significantly extend the resilience and performance life of an asphalt road surface. The technique can be used as part of an asset management strategy designed to maintain network condition by keeping green roads in green condition for longer delaying the need for reactive maintenance. Specified in clause 950 in the Specification for Highway Works, asphalt preservation is an effective and cost-efficient road surface treatment that has been used in the UK since the 1990’s.

The new guide outlines the process of asphalt preservation and highlights the responsibilities of client, contractor and installer concerning planning and co-ordination, health and safety, environment and work execution. Reference is made to the relevant regulations, standards and training qualifications.

Welcoming the new guidance, Rory O’Connor, RSTA Interim Chief Executive, said: “The new guidance note provides information on the right way to apply asphalt preservation treatments and gives practical advice to both client and contractor. Its use will ensure best industry practice that will result in the successful application of asphalt preservatives.”

The RSTA /ADEPT Guidance on Asphalt Surface Course Preservation Treatments is available as free download at:


The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has welcomed the Government’s support and recognition of the importance of continuing essential road maintenance works during the current challenging times resulting from the Covid 19 pandemic.

A letter from Baroness Vere of Norbiton, Transport Minister for Road, Buses and Places, has been sent out to the UK’s highway construction and maintenance sector. The letter thanks highways maintenance and construction workers for “doing an outstanding job under extremely challenging circumstances” and emphasises the need to maintain the resilience of the road network. In particular, Baroness Vere called for the industry to not only, whilst ensuring proper social distancing guidance, adopt as close to a ‘business as usual’ approach as possible, but to examine opportunities to accelerate road works whilst roads are quieter than normal.

Rory O’Connor, RSTA Interim Chief Executive, responded: “The recognition of the essential role that highway maintenance has in keeping Britain moving is welcomed. A well-maintained road network is critical for ensuring the safe travel of NHS staff and emergency workers and for the efficient movement of medical supplies, food and other goods.

The surface treatments season runs from April through to September and so it is essential that highway maintenance programmes are implemented before the winter. Therefore, whilst ensuring safe working practices and social distancing, our sector is continuing to work under exceptional circumstances and I would like to echo Baroness Vere in thanking our members and their staff for their continued dedication and commitment.”


The potential danger to cyclists of poorly maintained roads has been highlighted by new research which found that only one-in-ten local authorities are meeting their own target times to fix potholes and road defects.

The research from Cycling UK found that out of 85 local authorities who responded to Freedom of Information requests, only 1-in- 10 successfully repaired all reported potholes. North Tyneside Council was one of the most effective authorities, repairing all 39,258 identified potholes on time between 2015-19, while Wakefield City Council was the worst performer, managing to fill only 13% of reported potholes on time. While no part of the UK performed well, 1 in 6 English authorities meet their target times of three weeks for non-urgent potholes. However, not a single responding authority in Scotland or Wales achieved this.

While potholes are a real problem for everyone who uses the roads, they pose a particular risk of injury to cyclists. At least 448 cyclists have been killed or seriously injured on our roads over the past 10 years, with three deaths in 2018, the last year with available data. The charity has suggested that this is only the tip of the iceberg, with most crashes never reaching the statistics if no police officer attends the scene.

“Cyclists are amongst our most vulnerable road users. For them a deterioration in the road surface can result in serious, life-changing injuries,” said Mike Harper, chief executive of the Road Surface Treatments Association. “There is currently a £9.7 billion backlog of local road maintenance, Despite the Chancellor’s recent Budget pledge to provide an additional £2.5 billion to maintain local roads over the next five years, the backlog, continued cuts in funding and the ever increasing use of roads means that local councils are fighting a losing battle and find it difficult to keep pace with the level of road repairs required.”

He continued: “The injection of additional funding is welcomed. However, the government needs to examine how to provide assured, long-term funding that will allow local authorities to carry out programmes of preventative maintenance that would keep roads in good condition and stop the potholes from forming the first place.”


The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has welcomed the Chancellor’s budget commitment to provide a £2.5bn pothole fund.

Mike Harper, RSTA Chief Executive, said: “We are pleased that the Chancellor has delivered and provided much needed additional funding to address the significant problem of potholes that is affecting much of our local road network.

It was interesting that when the Chancellor made his pothole funding pledge, his fellow MPs responded with one of the loudest cheers in response to his Budget. This underlines the cross-party support to fix the local road network and in the words of the Chancellor of the need to ‘Get it Done’

However, there is still much that he can do. Whereas the new funding is to be warmly welcomed it must be remembered that it would cost £9.7bn to negate the maintenance backlog and bring the local road network up to a reasonable standard.

We hope that the realisation that the local road network needs help will encourage the Chancellor to recognise that sufficient funding for long-term planned programmes of maintenance would prevent potholes from forming in the first place. It is also a better use of funding as it costs on average £52m2 to repair a pothole against the mere £2.50m2 to surface dress and maintain a road.

To this end, we recommend that the Chancellor examines the potential of injecting a further £1.5 billion a year maintenance backlog by investing just 2p a litre from the existing fuel duty and provide a funding settlement that enables planned five-year maintenance programmes.”


The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has called upon the Chancellor to announce in his forthcoming Spring Budget his delivery of the Conservative Party Election Manifesto promise to implement the biggest-ever pothole filling programme worth £2 billion as part of the National Infrastructure Strategy.

Even better would be a real recognition of the national importance of a well-maintained local road network and the implementation of new funding measures for the preventative maintenance programmes that would stop potholes from forming in the first place.

In its pre-budget submission to The Treasury, RSTA underlined that the local road network is the UK’s greatest infrastructure asset and is worth some £400 billion. With every road journey starting and ending on a local road, a well-maintained local road network is essential to the national social well-being and economic prosperity. Furthermore, post-Brexit, the government wishes to prove that Britain is ready and open for business. The provision of a well-maintained local road network is fundamental to achieving that objective.

Yet, despite the local road network’s national importance, successive governments have failed to provide the sustained levels of funding necessary for planned programmes of maintenance and investment. The result? A deteriorating road network where according to the latest AIA ALARM Survey one-in-five roads are in such poor structural condition that they need replacing within five years and it would cost £9.79 billion to bring the network up to an acceptable standard.

Mike Harper, RSTA Chief Executive, said: “If the Chancellor wishes to demonstrate that he is really serious about improving the national economy and social well-being, levelling-up the north and proving that, the UK is open for business then he must recognise the national importance of investing in a well-maintained local road network.”

In addition to delivering the £2 billion pothole pledge, Harper called upon the Chancellor to commit to an injection of £1.5 billion a year to address the local road maintenance backlog by investing just 2p a litre from the existing fuel duty, provide an assured funding settlement that enables planned five-year maintenance programmes and address the funding disparity between the strategic road network and the local road network. The strategic road network maintenance receives 53 times more funding per mile than local roads. Yet the vast majority of journeys are undertaken on the local road network.

Harper continued: “Previous ad-hoc additional funding has been welcomed but this does not address the fundamental problem that the local road network needs long-term, consistent investment if programmes of cost-effective, preventative maintenance are to be implemented.

Furthermore, the timing such one-off funding is problematic.  For example, making additional funds available in November with requirements that they are spent by March – means that the road works have to be carried out largely at the wrong time of year. Proving the assured long-term funding that allows maintenance at the right time of year, with the right surface treatment, in the right place, would extend the life of existing roads and make road budgets go much further.”