CIHT on Road Condition Survey Report

The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) Survey was released today by the Asphalt Industry Alliance. The survey collects information from local authorities regarding frequency and standards of maintenance, funding and other related issues such as road safety.

The 2011 ALARM Survey is the 16th to be published and reports that £10.7 billion is now needed to bring the roads of England and Wales up to scratch, an increase of 25% on the 2009 estimate. Local authorities report a larger shortfall in annual road maintenance budgets than last year, amounting to £895 million.


The key findings of the latest ALARM Survey do not come as a surprise but confirm the continuing and increasingly serious deterioration in the condition of the highway network. The effect of the recent severe winter periods and continued underfunding of maintenance have led to a significant increase in the size of the highway maintenance backlog. The survey estimates this to be £10.7 billion, an increase of £1.15 billion compared with last year.

CIHT acknowledge that some additional funding has recently been provided by Government. This will need to be spent on short term repairs of potholed and deteriorating surfaces, as a result of the recent weather events. Whilst this has assisted in providing an important short-term improvement in road safety it will not contribute to a more effective maintenance solution which would improve the long term condition of the network. The planned funding reductions over the next few years will inevitably exacerbate these problems.

The substantial increase in the number of potholes in the last year to over 2 million is a particular concern when combined with the general deterioration of road surfaces outlined in the survey. CIHT has concerns that road openings caused by groups including utilities have had a detrimental effect on the overall condition of the network. Research by TRL has indicated that at least 8 per cent of highway maintenance expenditure is used in dealing with the effects of these reinstatements.

CIHT is concerned that the survey highlights the loss of expertise in local authorities as a result of staffing reductions, with those having the most skill and experience in managing the local road network being most at risk. CIHT believe that it is essential that those involved in highway maintenance have the necessary skills and competence in line with appropriate professional and national occupational standards. The provision of an adequate future skills base is a current area of focus for CIHT.

A fully functioning transport infrastructure is essential in underpinning a successful economy. Financing the maintenance of the highway network is a fundamental part of UK transport policy due to the positive impact it has on the social and economic well-being of the country. CIHT supports the principle that maintenance must be planned using sound asset management principles if an improvement in the condition of the network is to be achieved. Effective maintenance requires adequate and sustained long term funding to be delivered at the right time to achieve minimum whole life cost.


Notes for Editors

Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation
CIHT is a membership organisation representing over 12,000 people who work in the highways and transportation sector.

CIHT members design, build, operate and maintain best-in-class transport systems and infrastructure, whilst respecting the imperatives of improving safety, ensuring economic competitiveness and minimising environmental impact.

CIHT supports its member’s professional endeavours by:
offering training, information, professional development and support promoting the value added to society by the profession being the focused voice to Governments and other decision makers on transportation expertise and knowledge.

For more information please contact:

Daniel Isichei, Director of Communications, CIHT on t: +44 (0) 20 7336 1567 m: 07912122573 e:


Daniel Isichei
Director of Communications

t: +44(0)20 7336 1567
f: +44(0)20 7336 1556

Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation
119 Britannia Walk
N1 7JE