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Transport Committee Requests Long-Term Funding to Rid Roads of Potholes

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The Transport Committee has launched a bid to secure a five-year funding plan commitment from the Department of Transport (DfT) to rid the UK of the potholes that have become a peril to drivers performing haulage work up and down the country.

Of course, hauliers would love to see fewer of these nasties out there on the roads; not only because this would remove a real irritation from the day’s work but also because it would ensure that motorways, dual carriageways and A-roads are in a safer condition. There are several dangers to driving over potholes, many of which anyone doing haulage work will already be aware of and some that may come as a surprise.

A Five-Year Model

The Transport Committee has pointed the DfT to what they have identified as a £9bn backlog in the system, which has been overlooked by the current policy of local councils saying “make do and mend” when it comes to potholes. This is a policy they argue is not only ineffective but also offers very poor value for money.

Local government funding, the report published by the committee has found, has fallen by 25% since 2010, with no ring-fencing in place for local councils to focus funds on repairs to roads in their area.

This issue is not just about funding, however. The committee has also asked that the DfT improves the way in which it records and supplies data about the condition of the roads, so that local councils have the tools as well as the funding to act quickly and decisively in tackling an issue that can pose a real danger to those performing haulage work.

A Call for Innovation

The report also stressed the need for the DfT to become a leader in seeking out and funding new and innovative technologies to assist in improving the quality of road maintenance and preventative strategies.

Representatives from the committee have pointed to the confusion many drivers feel in that the UK’s road taxes are some of the highest in Europe, yet its roads and transport systems are some of the most underfunded.

Why This Matters to Haulage Work

Potholes can come in all shapes and sizes, although what unites them all is the danger that they pose to drivers – including those of us doing courier and haulage work. The problem is not just for drivers either, with potholes costing the logistics industry as a whole millions of pounds every year in maintenance and repairs that could be avoided.

For drivers, the dangers posed are obvious. A vehicle may be rendered out of action as a result of coming into contact with a hole in the road, and repairs and maintenance can be a real burden on both time and finances.

Potholes have become one of the most pressing issues in the haulage industry in recent years, with the Transport Committee now calling on the DfT to make a decisive move in its attitude towards funding, new technologies and data systems used to reduce the danger posed to drivers.
About author: Desiree Michels

Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage work with available drivers, and is now the fastest growing Freight Exchange in the UK.

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