The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has welcomed MP’s calls for the end of erratic funding for local road maintenance that forces short-term, reactive pothole repairs rather than proactive planned programmes of long-term preventative maintenance.
The House of Commons Transport Committee latest report ‘Local roads funding and maintenance: filling the gap’, addresses the extreme state of disrepair of the English local road network and states that the only way forward is a front-loaded, five- year funding settlement that will enable local authorities to plan ahead.
The MPs’ point out that potholes are a safety risk, particularly for cyclists, and a deteriorating road network undermines local economic performance whilst repairing potholes rather than preventing them from forming in the first place does not make economic sense.
In a damning indictment of the current state of local roads, the Chair of the Transport Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, said: “Local roads are the arteries of our villages, towns and cities, but most people won’t have to go further than the local shops to spot a pothole that poses a risk of injury or damage. Local authorities are in the invidious position of having to rob Peter to pay Paul. Cash-strapped councils are raiding their highways and transport budgets to fund core services.
Now is the time for the Department to propose a front-loaded, long-term funding settlement to the Treasury as part of the forthcoming Spending Review.”
RSTA has long argued for government to recognise the social and economic importance of having a well-maintained local road network and of the need to provide assured and adequate levels of funding.
“What is needed is proper assured funding that enable planned five year maintenance programmes. Inadequate levels of investment topped up by the odd, ad-hoc funding allocation does not allow local highway authorities to plan and implement the programmes of maintenance that would prevent potholes from forming in the first place,” said Mike Harper, RSTA chief executive.
“We warmly welcome and support the recommendations of the Transport Committee that the Department for Transport work with the Ministry of Housing and Local Government to propose a front-loaded, long-term funding settlement to the Treasury as part of the forthcoming Spending Review.”