Memorandum by the Parliamentary Advisory
Council for Transport Safety (RM 14)
MAINTENANCE OF MOTORWAYS, TRUNK ROADS, AND
LOCAL AUTHORITY PRINCIPAL ROADS
Please find below the conclusions drawn from
the PACTS Road Environment Working Party meeting held on 23 January.
1. PACTS welcomes this committee inquiry
into the state of repair of the roads. There exists little robust
research into the relationship between road maintenance and road
safety and PACTS therefore recommends more detailed research in
2. A sustained commitment to maintenance
is required. This effort must deal with more than the superficial
aspects of maintenance as are covered by the Best Value Performance
Indicators. PACTS' members have expressed concern over the potentially
substantial deterioration that takes place below the road surface.
This kind of road deterioration is not identified by the DETR's
current visual survey of the state of the roads.
3. PACTS would like to see research that
determines whether the level of investment required to maintain
roads is being provided. While there is significant capital investment
in road building projects, there is concern over whether the revenue
available to local authorities for annual maintenance is adequate.
4. Furthermore, PACTS would like to see
confirmation that funds, in part given to local authorities through
the Local Transport Plan methodology, are indeed spent on the
maintenance activities to which they are allocated.
5. The importance of road sign visibility
should be acknowledged. Since road signs convey important information
which facilitates road safety, appropriate resources must be directed
at cleaning signs and clearing obstructions.
6. Neglect of road maintenance is exacerbated
by the current skills shortage in highways engineering. More needs
to be done to re-engage people in this area of work. Highways
engineering should be promoted as a career choice in order to
manage this deficit over the long-term.
7. PACTS considers that the de-trunking
process could present problems of under-resourcing for road maintenance.
There is concern that the transition of roads from Highways Agency
responsibility to local authorities should be accompanied by a
comparable transition of resources to prevent maintenance neglect.
8. Research into non-principal roads and
their rate of deterioration is also recommended by PACTS. The
maintenance of non-principal roads is too often marginalized,
particularly in view of the increasing volume of traffic on these
roads. Commercial and residential developments bring new pressures
to non-principal road networks. These are not always reflected
by re-classification, with the associated funding arrangements.
Attention needs to be given to all types of roads in order to
ensure adequate resources and procedures are available to facilitate
the maintenance of all roads.
Policy & Campaigns Officer (PACTS)