Friday, May 27, 2011

Freight Transport Association Claims Potholes Increase Haulage Costs

Councils Need to Spend More to Reduce Accidents and Trucking Expenses
Shipping News Feature

UK – Yesterday the Labour Party estimated that the bill for repairing Britain’s roads was as high as £13.4 billion and that 92% of the Councils which responded to their survey stated they had insufficient funds to effect repairs. Given that, once reported, it is the legal obligation of a local authority to repair potholes, for fear of legal liability should a subsequent accident occur, the bill could actually be even higher. Now the Freight Transport Association has spoken out on the subject on behalf of the nation’s road haulage interests.

The FTA says that damage to commercial vehicles from poorly maintained local roads represents a significant cost to business and, eventually, hits the consumer in the pocket too, with industry estimates that tyres and maintenance account for over 10 per cent of the costs of running a typical large truck the damage caused by uneven road surfaces an have a very real and direct effect on a hauliers costs to say nothing of the element of road safety involved.

The Audit Commission have recommended that local authorities should achieve a greater level of transparency when dealing with this matter promoting more proportionate spending on the repair and maintenance of the highways. Malcolm Bingham, FTA’s Head of Road Network Management Policy, comments:

“Commercial vehicle operators contribute massively to the economy via taxes, is it too much to ask that our roads are fit-for-purpose? After all, the not inconsiderable cost of damage caused to trucks and vans by poorly maintained roads cannot be reclaimed from the local authorities. The resulting inflation, as additional transport costs get passed to the customer, is certainly not good for UK Plc.

“The Audit Commission has identified that local highways authorities maintain 98% of the country’s roads, yet the level of spending on improving road conditions differs widely between them and seems to bear no resemblance to road condition or size of network. This has to change and we support the Commissions’ calls for greater transparency across local authorities both in benchmarking costs and whole-life maintenance plans.

“Aside from the obvious imperative to improve the safety of all road users, with potential savings of £35bn to be found there is also a strong business case for improving safety levels on our A-roads. But the challenge doesn’t stop at better road design and could be undermined by inadequate maintenance.”

You can download the full Audit Commission report HERE.