A promise by the government to splash out with the “biggest ever investment” in roads is still not enough to plug a backlog in maintenance, with billions more needed, according to the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA).
This week’s comprehensive spending review (CSR) promised a “once in a generation” investment in infrastructure projects, with capital spending in 2021 totalling £100bn.
Rick Green, AIA chair said the funding announcement for roads reflected government recognition of the need to invest in the local road network, but he also said: “While these spending commitments are welcome in these challenging times, we are aware that the sums outlined will not be enough to plug the existing multi-billion pound backlog in road maintenance funding and so our ageing network will continue to decline.
“What’s needed going forward is an additional investment of £1.5bn a year for 10 years, to improve the experience of all road users, support recovery and deliver a much-needed boost to the economy.”
Logistics UK said there was much for the logistics sector to be encouraged by; Elizabeth de Jong, policy director, said that roads investment would improve “the competitiveness of our economy by enabling freight to move smoothly around the country, and across borders.”
She added: “We are hoping to find that the green book guidelines used to make key investment decisions now properly value the contribution that freight makes to the UK’s economic performance nation-wide. #
“Our members look forward to working with the new infrastructure bank to ensure that green initiatives and improved infrastructure remains a government priority in the years to come.”
Kevin Bell, transport partner at law firm Womble Bond Dickinson said that on first glance the so-called infrastructure revolution announcement looked impressive, with £19bn of local transport investment, including £1.7bn for local roads and potholes.
But he added: “When you scratch beneath the surface of these local announcements, most of these projects are not new and had already been announced by the government.”