The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has hit out over the Government’s lack of action to address the UK’s deteriorating road network.
The group claims that the lack of measures to address the UK’s deteriorating road network in the March Budget undermines the Chancellor’s rhetoric of describing UK infrastructure as being the “economic arteries” of the country and that investment in the sector will “get growth flowing” to every part of the country.
Howard Robinson, Chief Executive of the RSTA, said: “Despite George Osborne’s supposed recognition of the importance of the infrastructure, the arteries of the road network remain clogged with pot holes and lack of investment.”
The headline announcement concerning infrastructure investment was an extra £3 billion a year 2015-16. However, this is two years away with no guarantee as a new government will then be in power.
“Investment in the crumbling road network is needed now not in two years’ time. Furthermore, the extra funds announced would fail to address the needs of the UK infrastructure when, after years of under investment, just to repair the road network alone would cost £10 billion,” adds Robinson.
The economic implications of the Chancellor’s failure to provide the funding necessary for a programme of long-term road maintenance are clear. Last year, local authorities paid out over £32 million in compensation claims from road users for vehicle damage or personal injury. This is a 50% increase on the previous year. Even more alarming is the cost of the deteriorating road network for small and medium-sized businesses due to reduced productivity, increased fuel consumption, vehicular damage and delayed deliveries: a whopping £52 billion a year.
“Investing in road maintenance really would ‘get growth flowing’”, explains Robinson. “It would provide an immediate boost to the economy, improve road safety and remove the spiral of decline which sees many local authorities forced to carry out expensive emergency repairs rather than cost-effective long-term maintenance.”
By Alec Peachey