The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has welcomed the commitment by the Department for Transport (DfT) to make the case to HM Treasury for a long-term funding settlement that addresses the backlog of pothole repairs.

The DfT’s pledge is contained in the Government’s response to the Transport Committee’s report ‘Local road funding and maintenance: filling the gap’ to which the RSTA provided evidence of the results of decades of under-investment in local road maintenance and of the need for an assured long-term funding settlement that enables councils to plan and implement effective programmes of repair and maintenance.

Funding for local highway authorities is via a combination of capital funding from the DfT highways maintenance block plus revenue funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. DfT is to work with government department to develop and submit a business case for a front-loaded long-term funding for local highway maintenance to be included in the future Spending Review.

“We have been calling for such a measure for several years and so this commitment by the DfT is warmly welcomed,” said Mike Harper RSTA chief executive. “The certainty of front-loaded, long-term funding would allow highway engineers and asset managers to make better, longer term decisions, which will lead to a more resilient network, fewer potholes and a lower whole life cost for roads. It would result in more forward planning ensuring that cost effective surface treatments can be planned into a preventative maintenance programmes that prevent potholes from forming in the first place.”

He continued: “We are delighted that our recommendations have been heard by DfT and central government and we look forward to continuing to work with DfT to promote the innovative and collaborative thinking that will make maintenance funding go much further.”