£600 billion UK National Infrastructure Pipeline puts the cart before the horse
The announcement by the British Government that some £600 billion is to be spent on national infrastructure investment is a case of putting “the cart before the horse” believes the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA).
The announcement forms the central part of the National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline 2017 which provides a programme of projects to be undertaken over the next 10 years. These range from major motorway improvements to increasing rail capacity, from building new towns to redeveloping urban centres.
“The pipeline of national infrastructure projects is very impressive. However, it has a fundamental flaw. It ignores the fact that nearly all journeys begin and end on the local road network which continues to deteriorate due to lack of investment. This means that sparkly new national infrastructure will have to be accessed via potholed, rutted roads”, said Howard Robinson, RSTA chief Executive.
Robinson points to the 2017 Local Authority Road Maintenance survey (ALARM), published by the Asphalt Industry Alliance, that reported to bring the road network up to a reasonable standard would cost £11.8 billion and would take 14 years to complete. Worryingly, the survey also found that overall local highway budgets for road maintenance have fallen by 16%.
“With the majority of all journeys being taken on the local road network, the government should invest to bring this up to scratch first before spending billions on headline grabbing projects,” said Robinson.