Slowly but surely the condition of Britain’s local road network seems to be improving according to a new survey. However, there remains a long way to go and it would only take a severe winter to underline the weaknesses of our road network warns the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA).
The latest National Highways and Transport (NHT) Public Satisfaction Survey shows a slight improvement of 3% in overall public satisfaction with the condition of the road network. Of the 70,000 respondents, there was a 4% improvement in the level of satisfaction with the speed and quality of road repair and a 7% reduction in people who thought that the number of potholes had decreased.
Commenting on the survey’s findings, Howard Robinson, RSTA chief executive said: “Against a difficult economic climate, local authorities and the road surface industry are working hard to address the problems resulting from severe underinvestment in our road network. The NHT survey reports that 34% of the public are satisfied with the conditions of local roads. However, that means that 66% are not.”
Increasingly, faced with continued budget cut backs and restraints despite some government funding increase, local authorities are working closely with the road surface industry for greater efficiencies. This has seen local authorities adopting initiatives forwarded by the Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme (HMEP) and realising the benefits of asset management. For its part, the road surface industry continues to further develop best practice and new products that provide long-term performance and optimum solutions.
As part of the survey those local authorities who had made particular progress in improving their road network were congratulated. They included: Nottingham City Council, London Borough of Southwark, Blackpool Borough Council and Medway Council. Special mention was also made of Sheffield City Council and Clackmannanshire Council.
“The condition of our local road network continues to be a major concern. Local authorities are to be commended for the progress that they have made given the challenges of restricted budgets. Although the government has made some additional funding available it is yet to address the real problem of £12 billion necessary to bring our road network up to a reasonable standard”, said Robinson.