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 https://www.rsta-uk.org/publications/ 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)

HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE BUDGETS AT RISK FOLLOWING PANDEMIC CASH SHORTFALLS

The financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic could see councils across England making budget cuts of up to 20 percent. With road maintenance budgets in the firing line the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) is calling for a new approach for the funding and governance of local road networks.

According to the Local Government Association, councils will face additional costs of up to £13 billion this year due to measures required in tackling the pandemic. These additional costs come on top of over a decade in which local authority budgets have been slashed. Between 2015/16 and 2017/18, councils lost 77 percent of their funding from central government used to provide essential services.

The impact of the pandemic has led to many sources of revenue, i.e. the collection of parking fees, drying up. It is estimated that councils could lose up to £1.4 billion from these funding streams, leading to many councils potentially facing a financial black hole. Other losses include £400 million in business rates, fees and charges of £341 million and council tax revenue of £288 million as many people have lost their jobs and others are utilising payment holidays.

To counteract this, the government has allocated a further £3.8 billion to councils in the last two months. But this falls far short of what is required, with many local authorities still reeling from year-on-year cuts to budgets. According to the Local Government Association councils will need up to four times the funding they have been allocated by government so far.

The financial crisis affecting councils post-pandemic could have a significant detrimental impact on highway budgets as councils are forced to use them to pay for social care. The government has announced an additional £2.5 billion highway maintenance funding over the next five years; however, it could cost more than £11 billion to address the current roads repair backlog.

“The additional £500 million a year, although welcomed, is not enough and was allocated pre-Covid. Although following the Transport Select Committee report into local highways funding that was accepted by DfT is envisaged to lead to an announcement of longer term capital funding in the autumn, decades of under investment in the local road network has left a legacy of potholes that needs a new approach if it is to be properly addressed,” said Paul Boss, RSTA Chief Executive.

Boss believes this new approach should be based primarily on prevention rather than cure. He added: “Fixing potholes is just playing catch-up. What is needed is providing councils with a range of simplified governing and funding mechanisms that can enable the development and implementation of planned programmes of maintenance that prevent the deterioration of roads from happening in the first place.”

As part of this new approach the RSTA is calling for the local road network to be treated on parity with the strategic road network which, unlike local roads, has a greater certainty of funding with a 15 year road investment strategy. This contrasts sharply with the annual, often ad hoc, funding for local roads. Funding for local roads should be simplified. Councils have to access a myriad of funding pots which have different legal frameworks, different assessment criteria, business case requirements and timescales. This leads to a lack of effective planning, duplication and waste. Addressing these issues would improve outcomes and value for money. Furthermore, the Government should consider the injection of an additional £1 billion a year into a much-needed programme to address the pothole backlog by investing 2 pence per litre from the existing fuel duty to fix local roads.

Boss concluded: “During the pandemic the Government recognised the essential role that the local road network has in keeping Britain moving. It is time for a new approach that enables councils to ensure that this role is properly realised.”

NEW ERA AT RSTA

Paul Boss has now taken up his position as the new Chief Executive of the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA). Paul has over 30 years’ experience within local authority highways and since 2005 has been the Highway Asset Manager looking after strategic, tactical and operational highway asset management in Staffordshire. He joined Amey in 2014 as part of the Staffordshire County Council/Amey Infrastructure+ Strategic Highway Partnership and managed the teams responsible for the design of structural, preventative and structures schemes within the Partnership.

Rory O’Connor, who was acting as Interim Chief Executive, is the RSTA Chief Technical Officer. Rory has worked closely with the RSTA for 10 years as a Director of RSTA member company Tarstone Surfacing Ltd in various capacities as RSTA Executive Committee member, Chairman – Surface Dressing Sector, and participant in numerous RSTA committees and technical groups including BBA/HAPAS, BSI and CEN committees.

Paul and Rory will lead RSTA in meeting head-on the challenges facing the road surface maintenance industry with a proactive approach that will turn these challenges into opportunities by increasing dialogue with government and industry stakeholders, furthering supply chain collaboration with highway authorities and developing association services for the benefits of RSTA members.

To this end, RSTA will continue to be the focal point for the sector. Central to that will be the development of best practice guidance and industry codes of practice plus the provision of pertinent programmes of industry training and assessments to ensure a qualified and well-trained workforce.

ROAD INDUSTRY WELCOMES NEW ROAD INVESTMENT FUND

The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has welcomed the government’s announcement to invest additional funding to repair over 11 million potholes.

At the Government’s daily coronavirus briefing on Thursday 14th May, Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport, announced a multi-billion pound road and railway investment to help England recover from the economic impact of the Covid 19 crisis. This includes a £1.7 billion Transport Infrastructure Investment Fund to improve roads, repair bridges and fill in millions of potholes. In addition to this fund, the government is also accelerating over £175 million worth of road and rail works during the quieter period as people follow the guidance to avoid unnecessary travel. The Department for Transport reports that the number of potholes was “enough to tarmac a road stretching a third of the way around the earth.”

Welcoming the announcement Rory O’Connor, RSTA Interim Chief Executive, said: “The additional funding is welcomed both for helping to address the £11.14 billion local road repair backlog and for its recognition of the importance of having a well-maintained local road network for the national economic well-being.”

OXFORDSHIRE’S USE OF ROAD SURFACE DRESSING IS TO BE WELCOMED

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)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=2dqowi3JXhg&feature=emb_logo

NEW INDUSTRY GUIDANCE FOR ASPHALT PRESERVATION

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: https://bit.ly/2KYL5Eg

ROAD MAINTENANCE SECTOR WELCOMES GOVERNMENT’S RECOGNITION DURING COVID 19 CRISIS

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.”