21 December 2018

Keeping local roads funding on the agenda

It’s been a busy few months for the AIA. Our Chairman Rick Green and Directors David Giles and Malcolm Simms have been involved in numerous public affairs engagements, media interviews, and industry conferences in our efforts to keep the link between local roads funding and conditions firmly on the agenda.

In addition, the findings of our 2018 Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey continue to be referenced by politicians in reviews on local road investment; including a report from the Welsh Assembly’s Economy, Infrastructure and Skills Committee, a debate at Westminster Hall and an ongoing inquiry into local roads funding by the Transport Select Committee.

Our calls for an additional £1.5 billion per year – redirected from existing fuel duty – to be spent on local roads maintenance, formed the basis of our own submission to the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry, culminating in Rick Green submitting evidence to a hearing as a witness.
We were also able to set our thinking behind the sums needed to bring the local road network up to target conditions when we met with Jesse Norman, Minister of State for the Department for Transport earlier this year, at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Highways, which the AIA supports.

As we approach the end of the year, it seems that our call, and that of others in the sector, for more funding for the long-term maintenance of local roads is being heard.

The Chancellor announced an extra £420 million – to be spent by the end of April 2019 – in the Budget for local highways maintenance, plus a further £150 million for congestion hotspots, which is positive news for local authorities.

In addition, Jesse Norman has stated that he wants to go “further than the spending announced in the Budget” and “move towards a transparent and strategic five-year settlement for local highways maintenance.”

We hope that the New Year will bring more good news for local roads funding as we continue to advocate the need to get our local roads back on track.

Recent AIA activity highlights include:

  • Attending an All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) meeting at the Houses of Parliament and calling for an additional £1.5 billion per year to be redirected from existing fuel duty and spent on local roads maintenance.
  • AIA Chairman Rick Green being one of five witnesses at the first oral evidence session of the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into local roads funding and governance, following our earlier written submission.
  • The Welsh Assembly’s Economy Infrastructure and Skills Committee report recommends prioritising local roads maintenance over the building of new roads, following the AIA’s submission to its ‘State of the Nation’s Roads’ inquiry and our meeting with Russell George AM Chair of the Committee.
  • AIA Director Malcolm Simms appearing on the Points West section of The Politics Show live to speak about the state of our local roads.
  • Meeting with Shadow Transport Secretary Andy McDonald MP at an asphalt plant in his Middlesbrough constituency and using ALARM findings to highlight thinking on funding needed in the next spending round to bring the local road network up to scratch.
  • Providing ALARM 2018 findings to Yasmin Qureshi MP for Westminster Hall debate on potholes and road maintenance to highlight that action needs to be taken to improve road condition.
  • AIA Director David Giles making headlines in the Business Section of The Times, following an interview on road maintenance funding.
  • Hosting our free annual Sharing Best Practice event for local authority highway engineers.

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