The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has responded to the government’s local road network funding announcement by calling for a “more comprehensive road improvement strategy.”
It comes after the government confirmed it will allocate £348 million to upgrade the local road network over the next four years.
This investment will be available to local authorities for a range of issues on the local road network, whether this involves easing congestion, to upgrading the network by way of repairing long-standing road damage.
Whilst this funding has been welcomed by the FTA, the Association cited the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) Survey 2019, which revealed what was described as “chronic underinvestment.”
The estimates from the survey revealed that £9.79 billion is needed in road investment, with 10 years required for highways departments to resolve all the road repairs that are currently needed.
Therefore, whilst the £348 million is welcome, it falls some way short of what the FTA believes is currently needed in investment.
Malcolm Bingham, Head of Road Network Policy at the FTA, said that this funding must mark the start of long-term investment that will ensure the supply chain – vital in ensuring Britain keeps trading – continues to move.
He said: “FTA’s members have been very clear that the road network has been subject to chronic underinvestment for many years.
“Taxes on UK road transport are the highest in Europe, yet our roads continue to be underfunded: HGVs alone pay enough tax to fund more than 90% of the current amount spent on road maintenance in the UK.
“FTA’s members and their vehicles are taking the hit for a chronic lack of underinvestment in the UK’s road network, and we hope that th is investment marks the start of a longer term, more comprehensive road improvement strategy, which is needed to keep the UK’s supply chain moving.”