Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey
Independent survey now in its 26th year
Each year the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) commissions an independent survey of local authority highways departments in England (including London) and Wales.
The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey – now in its 26th year – provides detailed insight into the funding and conditions of the local road network, based on information provided directly by those responsible for its maintenance. Its findings are used by stakeholders across the sector for tracking, benchmarking and planning purposes.
ALARM 2021 reports that, despite a 15% increase in highway maintenance budgets, maintaining local roads to target conditions is still out of reach for local authorities. If they had enough funds to meet their own target conditions, there could be an additional 14,400 miles of local roads in a good state of repair.
While the extra funding was welcomed, budgets reported are still lower than they were two years ago, and road conditions have yet to see any significant improvement: the average frequency of road surfacing is now once every 68 years and the bill to fix the backlog of maintenance work on local roads in England and Wales is £10.24 billion.
It is clear that a longer term approach is needed, similar to the five-year commitment made to the strategic road network in the two RIS periods, to allow local authority highway engineers to plan ahead and implement a more proactive, sustainable and cost effective whole life approach to maintaining the network.