Focus on highway maintenance
The recent Autumn Statement by the Chancellor gave some encouraging news to the highways sector with talk of more funding being invested in new road schemes and maintenance.
The National Infrastructure Plan committed over £10 billion for maintenance and investment in key road and local transport schemes and a further £1.4bn has been committed to fund new strategic road schemes between now and 2015.
It is unfortunate however that the government appear to want to invest mainly in new road infrastructure rather than allocating more funding to maintain the existing road network which must surely make more sense during times of austerity and increasingly severe winters.
In addition to the news grabbing headlines another important activity is currently underway sponsored by the Department for Transport, the Highway Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP) which started this spring.
The over arching objectives of the HMEP work streams is for local highway authorities to learn how to do things differently, to drive down costs and improve efficiencies. Over the coming years,
HMEP will provide practical and adaptable efficiency solutions and allow authorities to make more informed local investment decisions to support its local community and economy.
The RSTA is playing its part in HMEP by becoming increasingly involved with supporting some of the work streams, particularly with regard to the National Pothole Review which aims to capture and share industry best practice to both prevent
occurrence and also provide more durable repairs for pot holes to avoid a repeat of the pothole plague that gripped the public’s attention over recent bad winters.
This important work will be published next March and I am delighted that the RSTA Conference on March 29th at the Belfry will showcase some of the important outcomes.
I should also like to add that 2011 has been an extremely busy and prosperous year for the RSTA with membership continuing to grow with 17 new members joining the Association over the past two years.
We have significantly developed our Training course offer attracting delegates from over 60 highway authorities and we also continue to work closely with ADEPT in developing new industry guidance.
Four new Codes of Practice have been published this year and a further six expected next year.
Next year is also important because it marks the 70th Anniversary of the Road Surface Dressing Association. To celebrate the occasion the RSTA will be producing a Commemorative brochure charting the development and achievements of the
RSTA from its origins in 1942 up to the present day, focusing on all of the Sectors that now make up the modern RSTA. Talking of modern, you will also have noticed that the Modern Asphalt Magazine was re-branded in the Autumn as the new
Modern Asphalt and Surface Treatments Magazine which I think denotes a significant shift in client interest towards the use of Surface Treatments.
It remains for me to wish everyone an enjoyable and hopefully restful festive season and a successful and prosperous 2012.
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