As lockdown eases on Saturday, personal freedoms will start to be restored and Brits will be leaving the house.
As an influx of people once more take to our roads to make more non-essential journeys, the importance of well-maintained road networks will once again be thrust into the limelight. Amidst political rhetoric of investment into local economies, and the threat of bankruptcy looming over 150 local authorities, Londoners stand united with their local government more than ever before. Roadmender Asphalt, a Sheffield-based road repair SME has commissioned nationally representative research that explores the British sentiments towards financing local governance.
The research revealed that 19% of people in London in the study said that they would now support their council tax bill to increase by 10% in order to provide financial assistance for road maintenance. Across the country, this move could raise a potential further £2.5 billion for pothole refilling 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. As the lockdown period eases, 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 63% of Londoners would rather cycle or drive in to work now than take public transport due to the COVID-19 risk.
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 the brilliant work they do to ensure potholes and road defects are addressed quickly, maintaining safety on the roads.
The study has also highlighted that 37% of Londoners 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.
Harry Pearl, CEO of Roadmender Asphalt, sheds a light on the importance of innovative thinking led by councils that is 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.”