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MPA welcomes road maintenance investment

Association says long-awaited investment much needed but stresses prevention is better than cure

THE Mineral Products Association (MPA) has welcomed government plans, announced on Friday 20 June, to allocate £168 million to councils across England to help repair potholes or to ensure that they do not appear in the first place.

Nigel Jackson, chief executive of the MPA, said: ‘This significant road investment has been long awaited and is much needed. Money spent on repairing damage never goes as far as money invested in planned, preventative maintenance. It costs at least 20 times more per square metre to fill a pothole than it does to resurface a road. We are particularly glad to note that the Department for Transport is helping out not only those that choose to fill potholes, but those that are more proactive in preventing them forming.’

The need for this funding was highlighted starkly in the Asphalt Industry Alliance’s (AIA) ALARM Survey 2014, where the key findings were:

  • £12 billion – estimated one-time cost to get roads back into reasonable condition
  • £90 million – estimated one-time cost per authority in England to get roads back into reasonable condition
  • 1.75 million potholes filled in England (115 thousand in London, 148 thousand in Wales)
  • £ 714 million annual budget shortfall across England and Wales
  • £5.1 million annual budget shortfall per authority in England (£2 million, London; £2.85 million, Wales)
  • 12 years to clear backlog, England and Wales (14 years, London)
  • 68 years – average time before road is resurfaced in England and Wales, excluding London
  • £31.6 million total cost of road user compensation claims.

The funding allocations followed a competition in which a total of 148 authorities applied for a share of the £168 million (all will receive a share). Overall, government has committed to investing in roads with more than £24 billion to be spent on upgrading and improving the English network until 2021.

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