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Asphalt Industry Alliance publishes 2021 ALARM Survey
- Wednesday March 31, 2021
The Asphalt Industry Alliance has today (31st March ) published the 2021 Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey. The ALARM survey shows that the legacy of inconsistent funding in England and Wales is still preventing highway engineers from being able to provide long term, cost effective maintenance improvements for local roads.
Steve Spender, Chief Executive, Institute of Highway Engineers, said: “The Institute of Highway Engineers is pleased to support the important work carried out by the AIA in delivery of the
annual ALARM survey.
“This year’s survey once again demonstrates that despite an increase in highway maintenance budgets local authorities are still unable to provide any significant improvement in carriageway condition with the numbers of potholes being treated increasing yet again. This report highlights the need for a more long-term approach to local road funding so as to allow local authorities to develop longer term plans for maintaining the highway asset.”
The 26th survey reports a 15 per cent increase in highway maintenance budgets which were, in part, due to additional funding from central Government, including the Pothole Fund in England, as well as supplementary pots to support changes as a result of COVID-19 needs and active travel ambitions. However, budgets reported are still lower than they were two years ago, and road conditions have yet to see any significant improvement.
This up-down approach to funding results in wasteful patch and mend repairs as local authorities have a statutory duty to maintain the highway but don’t have the scope or certainty of funding to implement more cost effective, proactive repairs. This is borne out by the large increase in the number of potholes filled over the last 12 months in England and Wales, the equivalent of one being filled every 19 seconds.
Local authorities also report that, despite the increase in budgets, target road conditions still remain out of reach. If they had enough funds to meet their own targets conditions across all road types, there could be an additional 14,400 miles of local roads in a good state of repair and another 2,000 fewer miles in need of urgent repair.
The full ALARM survey is available to download here