Enews - Issue 2 - Autumn 2010



A new group is to be established within the RTSA to specifically lobby for increased expenditure on sustainable road recycling techniques. This is particularly well timed with the government’s autumn spending review expected to signal significant cut backs in road related expenditure. The aim of the group will be to demonstrate how significant cost savings can be achieved through using the wide range of road recycling techniques now available, to liaise with client bodies and to become recognised as the industry voice on sustainable road recycling. RSTA members with an interest in this area are invited to join the group and participate in the development of a new code of practice for road recycling. Non-member companies with an interest in this area wishing to join this group should contact Lydia Vaux, email:


With significant cutbacks predicted in the training budgets of local authorities and private companies, the role of the trade association as a training resource has never been so important. Done properly, the trade association as a training resource could be a win- win situation.

Local authorities and private companies both recognise the importance of a well trained and competent workforce. It is an important element of the National Highways Sector Scheme 13 whereby those companies working under the scheme must be able to prove the competence of their workforce. A competent workforce also increases productivity and quality of work, improves health and safety, worker morale and corporate profitability.

With all these benefits, cutbacks in training budgets may seem self-defeating but such are the financial pressures facing local authorities and companies that many are being forced to examine training expenditure and to determine how best to cost effectively ensure a competent workforce.

Increasingly they are turning to their trade associations. Set up to provide the focus for their industry sector, trade associations are well placed to provide a training resource as they are fully aware of the specific issues facing their industry sector and can so develop a bespoke training resource and programme.

The RSTA has made the provision of industry training a central part of the range of services that it provides members and the road surfacing sector as a whole. The RSTA operates three training centres based in Dundee, Shrewsbury and Exeter for training in surface dressing and plant. In addition it runs a full programme of training events across the UK covering the wide range of surface treatments often with industry partners. Training can be carried out at these centres or on the premises of RSTA members. Alternatively, local authorities and companies can ‘club’ together for a joint in-house training event. All of the RSTA training courses are CPD approved and include an examination test paper so delegates have the opportunity of receiving an RSTA Silver certificate to demonstrate to employers their level of knowledge. Sector Scheme 13 also requires supervisors to attend RSTA training courses on surface dressing and slurry-micro surfacing every 5 years to maintain their CSCS cards.

Recognising the economic difficulties now being faced by all industry stakeholders and the need to obtain best value from diminishing budgets, the RSTA has recently made two business development appointments aimed at generating greater awareness of RSTA training courses. These courses are aimed primarily at technicians, managers and engineers to raise awareness of the many road surface treatments now on offer, how these can be specified and how they create value. Peter Buckley and Gavin Blogg have a strong background in surface treatments and are known to many in our industry. Peter will cover the South of England and Wales, while Gavin will cover Scotland, the North of England and Northern Ireland. Please direct your training requirements to or

The autumn season of RSTA training courses is rapidly approaching so visit and click on the calendar tab to see the full range of training courses on offer. All bookings should be directed to Lydia Vaux, email:

The RSTA also has a fully registered NVQ centre that is supported by some 20 assessors and four internal verifiers employed by RSTA member companies at affiliated centres throughout the UK. The RSTA assessment centre allows operatives and supervisors to achieve NVQ Level 1, 2 and 3. The RSTA NVQ’s cover all of the main surface treatments processes and are continually updated to meet the latest industry and EU directive requirements. The flexibility and cost economies provided by the RSTA assessment approach is underlined by the ability of companies to have a member of staff trained as an assessor. This may prove more cost effective for a company that has a number of staff requiring NVQ’s. Furthermore, RSTA is recognised by the National Highway Sector Scheme as being the only route through which the operatives and supervisors of member companies can obtain RSTA endorsed CSCS cards as demanded by Sector Scheme 13.

To increase its NVQ assessment capacity, the RSTA is working closely with Telford College of Arts and Technology who employ experienced assessors that are qualified to fulfil assessments on behalf of RSTA members. Telford College is well established and offers a range of training opportunities for all levels within the construction industry. Telford is an independent provider of road building and site safety-plus courses delivered in partnership with the RSTA. For more information contact Lydia Vaux at the RSTA Colchester office or Tim Gibbs at Telford College, tel: 01952 642334.

Developing itself as a training and NVQ assessment resource also has benefits for the trade association itself. It helps to fulfil the objectives of encouraging its industry sector to have a competent workforce, improves the sector’s health and safety performance and makes the sector an attractive career choice. In addition whilst providing cost savings to member companies it provides a revenue stream for the association. Now that is what is called a ‘win – win’ situation.


The Roads Surface Treatment Association has warned that the Budget proposals to freeze council tax in 2011-12 could have severe consequences on the conditions of local roads.

The announcement of the freeze by Chancellor, George Osbourne, would save households up to £35 a year but could cost local authorities up to £500 million.

The cost of poorly maintained roads to the national economy and to pressurised local council budgets is considerable. It is estimated that Britain’s crumbling roads cost the economy some £20 billion every year and cost councils an annual £53 million in insurance claims. One only has to look at the disruption and costs of the impact of potholes during this year’s winter to know that trying to save money by not maintaining roads properly is not an option.

Announcing the go-ahead of a number of major transport infrastructure projects, Osbourne stated in his budget that “the Government recognises the important role that investment in infrastructure plays in supporting economic growth and UK competitiveness”. It is important that the Government recognises this at both a local and a national level and provides local authorities with the necessary funding for a well-maintained local road network.


A series of pilot projects aimed at cutting a third off carbon emissions of road works and cutting the time taken to carry them out has been welcomed by the Road Surface Treatments Association.

The pilots will be carried out by the Carbon Trust and will examine how to reduce the heat needed to mix asphalt – currently 170º C is required. Cooler asphalt will significantly reduce the energy needed to produce it and, as it will harden faster, could cut the time taken for road works by up to 12 hours. The tests will examine heat recovery technology to reduce the carbon emissions from the burner that heats and then dries the aggregates. This is the main energy consumed in the hot asphalt manufacturing process. A further benefit of using cooler asphalt is the reduction of many health and safety risks associated with using higher temperature materials.

The pilots are being carried out by leading road surfacing companies including RSTA members Aggregate Industries and Nynas. As part of the pilots, Aggregate Industries are to install an innovative heat recovery system at its Haughmond Hill site in Shrewsbury. This will cut energy use by using waste heat to pre-heat the air combusted in the asphalt burner. By 2020, this system could be used to save 33,000 tonnes of carbon every year. Nynas is working with a consortium including Tarmac Limited, Atkins and MIRO to provide demonstration projects of semi-warm and cold asphalts. A further consortium comprising United Asphalt, Shell Bitumen and Berkshire Engineering will examine how to maximise the amount of reclaimed asphalt which can be used in road resurfacing by combining warm mix asphalt and a new aggregate dryer.

The Carbon Trust and UK asphalt industry believe that the pilots could point the way to reducing 339,000 tonnes of carbon off the industry’s annual carbon footprint by 2020. That is the equivalent of a 39 percent reduction.

The road surface industry is actively examining how to provide more for less, not only in terms of cost but also in terms of carbon emissions. The Carbon Trust and its partner companies are to be congratulated for their ‘can do’ vision and innovation. The pilots have the potential to make a very significant difference.

Dr Parry, University of Nottingham

RSTA is funding a PhD student at the University of Nottingham, to develop carbon footprint tools for six road surface treatments in co-operation with members, client bodies and other trade bodies including; Transport Scotland, ADEPT, Highways Agency and MPA. This will allow RSTA members to calculate the carbon footprints of their surface treatments, to report to clients and to identify the most carbon intensive stages of their operations as part of their carbon reduction strategies. Generic outputs can also feed into the maintenance stage of asPECT, Highways Agency’s carbon footprinting tool for asphalt roads.

The project started in September 2009 and so far we have generated first estimate, ‘cradle to laid’, figures for three surface treatments and the tools for these have been designed and are being coded.

Next steps are to get the remaining treatments to the tool creation stage, get feedback from the use of the tools and improve them appropriately. The study will then be extended to ‘cradle to grave’ carbon footprints. The project steering group have agreed to arrange two seminars next spring to generate awareness amongst key industry stakeholders and one of these will be hosted by Transport Scotland. The tools should be ready for launch in 2011.

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