Every year the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) commissions an independent survey of local authority highway departments in England (including London) and Wales. The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey provides detailed insight into the funding and conditions of the local road network, based on information provided directly by those responsible for its maintenance.
Now in its 28th year, ALARM 2023 reports that local authority highway teams in England and Wales only received around two-thirds of what they needed to stop our local roads from further deterioration. More than £14 billion is now needed to fix the backlog of carriageway repairs – the equivalent of £68,000 per mile of local road in England and Wales – and would take an average of 11 years to complete.
For previous years ALARM reports, go to: https://www.asphaltuk.org/alarm-survey-previous-reports
The proportion of highway maintenance budgets spent on the road surface and structure itself has also fallen, as local authorities have had to spend more on other parts of the asset, such as bridges, cycleways and drainage works, to cope with the effects of an increased incidence of extreme weather events on an ageing network. This has led to a widening funding gap in the amount needed to maintain the carriageway to target conditions.
The March 2020 Budget included pledges for an additional £2.5 billion for English local roads over five years. ALARM 2020 highlights that this will not be enough to plug the shortfall in annual carriageway maintenance budgets and is a fraction of the estimated £11.14 billion needed across England, London and Wales to bring local road networks up to a level from which they can be maintained cost-effectively going forwards.
*Now in its 25th year, the independent survey aims to take a snapshot of the general condition of the local road network in England and Wales, based on information provided directly by those responsible for its maintenance. The data received from local authorities provides a means of tracking any improvement or deterioration and the qualitative feedback received provides context. The full 2020 ALARM survey is available to download at www.asphaltuk.org