Infrastructure spend needs to include existing local roads
Comment from chair of the Asphalt Industry Alliance ahead of National Pothole Day 2020
COMMENTING ahead of this year’s National Pothole Day (Wednesday 15 January), Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) chair Rick Green has described the more than £1 billion that has been spent on chasing and filling potholes over the last decade* as ‘a waste’.
‘What’s needed,’ he said, ‘is investment in effective road maintenance, which will improve the condition of our roads and help prevent potholes from forming in the first place.
‘It’s promising that the new Government has recognized the need to ramp up spending on infrastructure in general, but this must include properly funding the maintenance of existing transport networks, such as our vital local roads, just as much as on headline-grabbing new schemes.
‘We’ve been calling for £1.5 billion extra per year for the next 10 years to bring local road conditions up to a level from which they can be maintained cost-effectively going forward.’
The AIA’s 2019 ALARM survey reported that local authorities now need £9.8 billion to bring the network up to scratch.
However, improving the network cannot be carried out on a straight-line curve as all work cannot be carried out at the same time and parts of the network will continue to deteriorate in the meantime.
This is why the AIA is calling for a sustained 10-year period of additional £1.5 billion per annum investment.
‘This investment would be a really sensible allocation of part of the £100-billion five-year pot being pledged by government and it would be really remiss if local roads, on which we all depend, were left out,’ said Mr Green.
*based on findings of ALARM surveys 2010–2019