Up to 365 jobs could be cut by a council which says it must cut major services to prevent bankruptcy caused by the financial impact of COVID-19. Luton Borough Council faces a £49m shortfall in its finances – and needs to save almost £22m. Amidst political rhetoric of investment into local economies, and the threat of bankruptcy looming over 150 local authorities, Brits 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 sentiments of people in the West Midlands towards financing local governance. The research revealed that 20% of the West Midlands in the study said that they would now support their council tax bill to increase by 10% in order to provide the financial assistance for road maintenance. Across the UK, this move could raise a potential further £2.5 billion for pothole refilling in England alone.
Key stats for the West Midlands
- 68% of the West Midlands would rather cycle or drive in to work now than take public transport due to the COVID-19
- 61% of people in the West Midlands would not feel comfortable commuting to work via public transport anymore
- 44% agree travelling back to work in a traditional office environment will have a negative impact on their mental health
- 40% agreed driving is the most stressful part of their day, caused by the poor quality of roads
- 20% are willing to pay an extra 10% on top of their council tax bill for road improvements
As millions of Brits begin to head back to work, both the public transport and road infrastructures across the nation will begin to be used under a new norm of post-COVID conditions. Therefore, 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.
Roadmender Asphalt’s research has also shown that 69% of Brits would rather cycle or drive in to work now than take public transport due to the COVID-19 risk, amounting to 24,261,000 people. Furthermore, the study has unveiled that 65% would not feel comfortable commuting to work via public transport anymore. With the Department for Transport already announcing that cycling will play a significant role in how Government envision the future of commuting, it is vital that the UK road networks are as safe as possible.
To aid the provision of pothole repairs in the UK, Roadmender Asphalt, have recently come up with a novel approach to pothole repairs designed around a new material specifically designed for the job. Elastomac, as the innovation is known, is a novel repair material, made from predominantly recycled materials, that include seven end of life tyres recycled into every tonne.
Exciting innovative materials could prove to be motorists new best friend, as road defects don’t just have an impact on vehicles. The study has also highlighted that 32% of Brits 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.”