FTA and RHA warn over possible cuts to local road maintenance
By: William Hobson
04 November 2010
In the wake of the DFT's approval of 21 major road projects last week, two of the most prominent associations representing commercial driving jobs in the UK have called for the government to make similar commitments to the network of smaller, local roads that make up the vital last stretch of driving work.
As reported by Commercial Transport, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) and the Freight Transport Association (FTA) have both warned that the government's cuts to local authority funds could threaten the future of local road works. In the recent Comprehensive Spending Review the Chancellor announced that local authority budgets would be cut 7.1% a year for the next four years.
Both organisations have warned that the lack of funds could see local highway maintenance budgets cut as, in the words of Jack Semple of the RHA, many are already "under considerable pressure."
Mr Semple, policy director for the RHA, said that "Any deterioration of local roads" could mean "millions of pounds in extra maintenance costs" for logistics work, due to the "suspension damaged suffered by larger vehicles and tyre damage to smaller ones."
"Local roads must not be allowed to worsen to such a condition that they are unsafe," he said.
Similarly, Malcom Binghman, the FTA's head of road network management policy said: "Our members would be concerned if any local highway maintenance budgets were cut."
According to a spokesman for the Department for Transport (DfT), the government is committed to investing £3bn in local highways maintenance by 2015 with a further £6m invested in the next two years for the most urgent works.
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