£100m pothole cash should start repair revolution

24/03/2011
Highways Reporters

Maintenance specialists are hoping that the extra £100m for pothole repairs announced in this week's budget means the message is gradually getting through to Government over highways funding.

The cash comes on top of a similar £100m investment for repairs revealed in February.

Paul Fleetham, Managing Director, Tarmac National Contracting said: "It is good to see that Government is listening to the clear messages from the public and highways authorities about the condition of UK roads.

“Nevertheless, road maintenance remains a huge issue for the UK. There is still a backlog approaching 12 years in road repairs in England and Wales, so these short-term funds only serve to prevent a bad problem becoming even worse.

"To put this additional money into context, the winter of 2009 alone caused £400m additional damage to our roads, so this is not going to suddenly solve the problems overnight.

“Roads are a vital strategic asset, and we must adopt a longer-term approach to funding and structural maintenance.

"I urge the Government to explore the benefits of providing local authorities with their highways funding allocation over five years, as this could help both councils and private sector partners to manage the road asset more effectively in the long term.”

Gary Mills, Managing Director, Highway Services, May Gurney said: "Spending cuts have already meant that local authorities have £165 million less to spend on roads this year.

"In addition, the continuation of the council tax freeze means it is imperative for local authorities to find new ways to deliver more for less, at a time when demand for services is growing.

"However, local authorities can do this in a number of ways. For example they can work together in co-operatives to prioritise the roads that need to be repaired, both within their own catchment area and beyond.

"The pooling of resources across councils can significantly improve cost efficiency and boost service levels, helping meet high demand while keeping costs down.

"We also expect to see the trend for local authorities to outsource highways maintenance continuing as council’s look to tap into private sector expertise to find new ways to drive efficiencies while improving standards."
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