Following fears that nearly 150 local authorities have forecast a combined budget shortfall of at least £3.2bn, research has shown in a new study that communities across the UK are united behind their councils, and are willing to support an additional £2.5bn, through council tax increases.
Roadmender Asphalt, a Sheffield-based bitumen technology company has commissioned nationally representative research that explores the British sentiments towards financing local governance. The research revealed that 19% of Brits in the study said that they would be happy for their council tax bill to increase by 10% in order to provide the financial assistance local authorities need to continue maintaining local road networks. This move could raise a potential further £2.5 billion for highways maintenance in England alone.
One of the key services and provisions provided by councils is the maintenance of road networks, ensuring the safety for millions of daily road users. Such is the gravity of people wishing to see healthy road networks, the government announced a £2.5bn fund to tackle the pothole repairs during the latest Budget. In addition to this, councils have used the lockdown period in the UK to ramp up their pothole filling activities, with a magnitude of success. County councils such as Shropshire for example have increased their output by over 100%.
The Department for Transport has announced that cycling will play a significant role in how Government envision the future of commuting. The study has shown that 69% of Brits would rather cycle or drive in to work now than take public transport due to the COVID-19 risk, amounting to 24,261,000 people.
In light of a new influx of road users each morning, hoping to avoid public transport, it is more important than ever that councils expand on their brilliant work they do to ensure potholes and road defects are addressed quickly, maintaining safety on the roads.
The study has highlighted that 32% of Brits have cited that driving is the most stressful part of their day due to the quality of roads. Further financial injections to assist the respective councils will therefore help a great deal to entice commuters to use the road networks in light of Coronavirus and beyond.
To aid the provision of pothole repairs in the UK, Roadmender Asphalt, have recently come up with a novel approach to pothole repairs designed around a new material specifically designed for the job. Elastomac, as the innovation is known, is a novel repair material, made from predominantly recycled materials, that include seven end of life tyres recycled into every tonne.
Harry Pearl, CEO of Roadmender Asphalt, sheds a light on the importance of innovative thinking led by councils that has helping to transform the efficiency of road repairs.
"After a decade of austerity, councils have naturally gravitated towards innovation and have helped launch R&D hubs, working with innovative SMEs . Together, SMEs and councils have started to ask why are pothole repairs filled with the same materials made to build roads, when they can fill potholes with materials made specifically for the job, that may prove to be significantly more efficient and cost-effective.
Experienced by councils up and down the land, the problem with pothole repairs is they are carried out using a process built around materials designed for building roads rather than fixing them. As a result the process is more costly, inefficient and ineffective than it needs to be, rather like playing squash with a tennis racquet. You can do it but it’s far from ideal.
Here at Roadmender Asphalt we are developing new products that will continue to be trialled with councils post-lockdown. Rather than having to spend time square cutting and excavating potholes before filling them with glue covered aggregate that takes hours to collect, has a 5 hour shelf life and then requires vibratory compaction; potholes can now be filled with a purpose designed flowable repair material that’s made from sustainable recycled materials, is heated on site, welds itself to the existing road and delivers a totally waterproof permanent repair. By avoiding excavating the patch the process requires on average 80% less material with no waste to carry away meaning contractors are able to complete 5 times more patches per day at significantly reduced cost."