The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) believe changes need to be made to the “broken” funding system for local roads maintenance.
Representing directors from county, unitary and metropolitan authorities as well as local enterprise partnerships, ADEPT is well placed to understand the needs of local authorities for solutions to local roads.
The organisation believes that, despite the investment outlined in the Budget, these measures do not offer long term solutions.
Chancellor Philip Hammond allocated billions in his Autumn Budget to the improvement, upgrade and maintenance of local roads.
Within this £28.8 billion investment, £420 million has been immediately released for local authorities to fix potholes that are an increasing blight on local roads – exacerbated by poor weather conditions.
ADEPT launched its position paper on local highways maintenance at the two-day Highways UK event.
And although the Association’s President, Neil Gibson, welcomed the funding released by the Chancellor, he believes the government must go further by putting systems in place that ensure greater coordination in tackling the problems associated with road deterioration.
He said: “The current system is broken. We have to stop trying to plaster over the cracks with short term handouts and uncoordinated funding streams.
“For some time now, the 300,000km of local roads have been treated as a poor relation to the 7,000km Strategic Roads Network.
“The recent £420 million announcement for repairs is welcomed, but it maintains the ‘sticking plaster’ approach that does little to tackle the fundamental issues faced by local highways authorities.
“Most journeys start and finish on local roads. Communities and businesses need reliable, efficient and well-maintained roads that are vital for economic growth.
“We recognise the good work the Department for Transport (DfT) has already done in developing an asset management approach, but the government needs to go further and deliver funding mechanisms that support ‘place’.”