ALARM continues to make case


The issue of highways maintenance remains ‘in urgent need of resolving’, according to the industry’s annual ALARM survey – despite a small improvement in the shortfall of funding.

The report by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), has yet again revealed the UK road network to be chronically under-funded to the tune of around £1bn a year.

The only positive note was last year the figure reduced slightly to £800m – although this was offset by £200m in emergency cash for repair provided by the Department for Transport following the severe winter weather of 2010-11.

Council chiefs welcomed the report, stating additional cash provided last year to top-up repair work was a mere ‘drop in the ocean’ compared to what was required.

Cllr Peter Box, chair of the Local Government Association’s transport board, said: ‘Council highways teams have yet again filled a remarkable number of potholes in their efforts to repair the damage wreaked on our roads by three severe winters.

‘Highways teams have been filling potholes at a rate of one every 18 seconds and by continually innovating with new technology and techniques they’ve been able to make every pound stretch even further. Over the past two years they’ve reduced the average cost of filling a pothole by 25 per cent, from £64 to £48.

‘Councils are currently stuck in the position of chasing their tails, repeatedly patching up a deteriorating network rather then fixing it properly.’

The comments were echoed in the report, which stated respondents from local authorities had called for budgets to be set to a minimum of five years, rather than the current year.

AIA chair, Alan Mackenzie, praised the work of the DfT’s Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme, and the imminent Pothole Review, but issued a word of warning regarding the agenda.

He said: ‘The Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) was pleased to respond positively to the invitation to participate in this and our belief is that HMEP will do much to facilitate the sharing of best practice and accelerate the introduction of more efficiencies.

‘We remain convinced, however, that real efficiency would materialise from less focus on potholes and more on longer term planning and planned maintenance programmes to prevent them appearing in the first place.’

Register now for full access

Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

comments powered by Disqus