John Lamb, President of the Local Government Technical Advisers Group, set out the benefits of switching to a holistic approach to highway maintenance budgets.
He explained to the group, which is chaired by Sir Christopher Chope MP, that permitting local authorities to allocate road maintenance funding where it is most needed, would lead to improvements in the local road network and ensure all funds were spent efficiently.
Current accounting procedure means that highway maintenance budgets are split into ‘revenue expenditure’, which is mostly funded by local authority funding, and ‘capital spending’, which is mostly supported by Central Government. Combining these funding streams and allocating them in a planned way under a total expenditure or ‘TotEx approach’ would be more cost-effective and iron out the existing peaks and troughs in highway maintenance activity.
John described TotEx as the step needed to ensure a ‘right first time’ approach to repairs. It would allow local authorities’ highway maintenance teams to manage their networks on a long-term basis as opposed to a series of short-term fixes.