Commenting on an announcement that the government will provide £22.9million for research and trials on new surface materials or pothole repair, Malcolm Bingham, Head of Road Network Management Policy at the Freight Transport Association (FTA) commented on the scheme:
“Any trial that has the potential to improve road operation performance is a worthwhile venture, and as such, FTA applauds the Department for Transport’s project. From the trialling of plastic roads, fixing potholes, to more effective analytics which may provide more useful information on diversions, there are a mix of projects in the announcements made by the Secretary of State. The road freight industry has had to deal with unsatisfactory road repairs and roadworks for too long; the government should rightly be seeking out more effective methods of maintaining a road system which carries the bulk of freight traffic.
“FTA’s members are often caught out on ill-devised diversion routes that have not be designed to cater to the needs of HGVs, which require appropriate and sensible diversion routes. With the persistence of potholes, the cost of maintaining commercial vehicle fleets is only continuing to rise. While it is possible to seek compensation for damaged vehicles from highway authorities, it is a highly protracted process. And when the full vehicle damage is realised – cracked tyres and suspension faults are common consequences – much of the hit ends up being absorbed within maintenance cost.
“FTA is looking forward to seeing the initial results of the trials; we hope it is successful in keeping vehicle costs at a sensible level, particularly when the industry is facing a number of operational challenges.”
Efficient logistics is vital to keep Britain trading, directly having an impact on more than seven million people employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. A champion and challenger, FTA speaks to Government with one voice on behalf of the whole sector, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers.