With the chancellor’s Autumn Statement due next month, a leading industry figure has warned of the danger of ‘a local road network that is not fit for purpose’.
AIA chairman Alan Mackenzie
Alan Mackenzie, chairman of the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), said: ‘The link between infrastructure investment and economic growth is well established but long term underfunding means that the local road network continues to deteriorate at a faster rate than it can be repaired.
‘Ten years ago, our ALARM survey warned against putting off the investment needed today until tomorrow. Local authority highways engineers told us then that it would take 10.9 years to get their roads back into a reasonable condition. This year, they told us the backlog was 14 years.
‘The age of the network and the increased volume and weight of vehicles – not to mention the effect of wetter winters – threatens the resilience our roads. Unless action is taken, we face the real prospect of a local road network that is not fit for purpose.’
Mr Mackenzie’s comments come after the release of the new UK code of practice for highways authorities, which transport minister Andrew Jones said would allow local authorities ‘to provide a more tailored service to meet local requirements and priorities’.
The AIA’s 21st Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey, published in March, found councils successfully working 'smarter with less money', with the overall cost of the repair backlog across England and Wales falling to £11.8bn from £12.2bn the previous year.