The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has called upon the new Chancellor Rishi Sunak to not only deliver on the Conservative election manifesto pledge of investing £2 billion to repair potholes but to also provide a mechanism for the long-term, assured investment in road maintenance. Mr Sunak, is due to present his budget on 11th March.
Mike Harper, RSTA Chief Executive said: “It costs on average £52m2 to repair a pothole against the mere £2.50m2 to surface dress and maintain a road. A provision of real levels of long-term assured investment would enable highway authorities to implement planned programmes of road maintenance. This would ensure the good condition or road surfaces and prevent defects and potholes from forming in the first place. Preventative maintenance would be a far more cost effective approach that expensive patch-and-mend.”
In addition to delivering the Conservative election manifesto pothole pledge, Harper called upon the Chancellor to commit to an injection of £1.5 billion a year to address the local road £9.7 billion maintenance backlog by investing just 2p a litre from the existing fuel duty, provide a 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 said: “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, and as part of levelling-up’ the regions, the government wants 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.”