AIA calls for fair share of investment for maintaining local roads

The Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) is calling for local road maintenance to receive a fair share of the Government’s planned infrastructure investment earmarked to stimulate the economy. 

With £100 billion of spending pledged and £4 billion of ‘shovel ready’ projects identified[1], the AIA advocates that maintaining local roads should be high up the list of Government spending priorities to help underpin recovery as well as tackling the impact of years of underfunding in the network. 

The AIA’s 2020 Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey highlights that it would take 11 years and cost £11.14 billion to bring the local road network up to a position from which it could be maintained cost-effectively going forward. Investment in local roads now would improve the experience of all road users as well as delivering a much-needed boost for economic regrowth.

“Properly funding local authorities to carry out cost-effective, planned, preventative maintenance programmes would reduce future costs of more extensive repairs or replacement as well as encouraging cycling, cutting congestion and improving air quality,” explained AIA Chair, Rick Green.

“It makes sound economic sense too, as the DfT’s own commissioned research has shown that investing in local roads is an effective way to boost the economy, with significant additional spending on local roads potentially providing cost benefits of more than 4.5 times[2].” 

The AIA’s ALARM survey, now in its 25th year, provides detailed insight into the funding and conditions of our vital local road network and its findings are used by stakeholders across the sector for benchmarking and planning purposes. This year’s findings show that average local authority highway maintenance funding is 20 per cent less in real terms than in 2010 with one in five local roads now classed as structurally poor.  

“Additional investment in our local roads will also contribute towards the Government’s levelling-up strategy and social cohesion goals, as well as complementing ambitions for more active forms of travel with widened footways and upgraded cycle routes,” Rick said.

[1] Glenigan: ‘Shovel ready infrastructure’ June 2020 

[2] ‘Valuing the wider benefits of road maintenance funding’ Philipp Thiessen (DfT), John Collins (DfT), Tom Buckland (TRL) and Richard Abbell (TRL) 2016

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