The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has welcomed the intention of England’s Economic Heartland, a major alliance of local authorities, to achieve statutory status as a regional authority by April 2017.

Following Royal Assent being given to the Cities and Local Government Act, England’s Economic Heartland, which runs through Northamptonshire, Oxfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire, aims to follow Transport for the North and Midlands Connect bids for statutory status.

The alliance’s Strategic Transport Forum held its inaugural meeting last week to discuss forward plans and agreed to develop an overall transport strategy for England’s Economic Heartland area as well as work up proposals for a major road network for the region. The alliance believes that the region has yet to realise its full economic potential and believes that being recognised as a statutory body would help it to bid for and attract transport infrastructure funding.

“Such devolution and collaboration between local authorities is a definite way forward for local authorities struggling with decreasing road budgets. For road maintenance it means greater financial certainty and control for long-term road maintenance programmes and increased opportunities for cost efficiencies and exchange of innovation and skills,” explained Howard Robinson, RSTA Chief Executive.

He continued: “The bid to be recognised as a regional authority will allow local authorities to have greater control of their own destinies.”