The Institute of Highway Engineers (IHE) supports the findings of a report into the maintenance of strategic infrastructure released by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) today (25 September 2014).
President John Nightingale (pictured) said the Institute had long championed the view that good asset management is more effective than reactive maintenance.
He said: ?The IHE has always advocated a proactive approach to highways maintenance with a significant, sustained and planned approach to asset renewal. The report released by PAC today concurs with our view that unpredictable and fluctuating budgets put value for money at risk.
?We strongly agree with the recommendation that it must ensure the Highways Agency has the right capital and revenue balance. A healthy revenue balance is essential to maintaining the asset and ultimately reduces the pressure on the capital spend to replace worn out and poorly maintained infrastructure.
?Local authorities have been losing a significant number of experienced engineers as a direct consequence of budget cuts. As a result, many do not have the resources or will to support quality continued professional development which has led to a shortage of registered engineers in local authorities.
?These engineers are essential in delivering change and developing good practice which is a key objective of the government’s Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme.
?While the IHE is doing all it can to facilitate training and skills in the long term asset management of the road network, we need local authorities to increase support to staff in this area and provide resources. Without sustained and sensible funding of strategic infrastructure, the state of UK’s road network is at risk.?
Mr Nightingale said the IHE was taking steps to ensure highway practitioners could maintain the long-term asset management of the road network, including:
• Promoting highway asset management principles and providing training courses for practitioners
• Encouraging highway engineers to maintain an asset register and plan
• Encouraging collaborative working particularly between the Highways Agency and local authorities with better coordination of works and co-procurement.