FTA warns against road maintenance spending freeze in London


All non-essential road improvements in the capital have been put on hold for two years, due to a shortage of funds, by the deputy mayor for transport, Val Shawcross.

She acknowledged this could lead to increased disruption, with more road closures and possible speed, size and weight restrictions.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says leaving London's roads without repairs and maintenance for the next two years could have catastrophic effects on the ability of the capital's businesses to keep everyone supplied with the goods and services.

FTA's head of urban policy, Natalie Chapman, said: "London cannot function if its roads do not work. It takes 400 thousand tonnes of goods every day to keep the capital working. But the cost of transporting these keeps increasing as congestion gets worse and restrictions on commercial vehicles are extended, with the introduction of the new Direct Vision Standard and Ultra-Low Emission Zone. 

“Now, we are told non-essential road maintenance is to be abandoned for two years, this is bad news for costs, congestion, emissions and safety.

"Whatever the reason for this announcement, Transport for London must appreciate the importance of ensuring London's roads can carry vital deliveries such as food, medical supplies and building materials. The suggestion that size or weight restrictions might be introduced, due to a lack of maintenance is entirely unacceptable."

According to Transport for London figures, the routes affected are some of the busiest in the city. While TfL maintains only 5% of London's roads, they carry up to 30% of the traffic.

Chapman said: "Central government needs to do far more to ensure our major roads are properly maintained and improved to carry freight movements.  That is why FTA supports government's plans for a new Major Road Network, providing ring-fenced funding for some of the nation's busiest and most important local authority routes. This is vital to ensure the success of our logistics industry and to keep Britain trading. 

“We also call on the Mayor of London to look urgently at his funding priorities to ensure freight services to the capital not disrupted."

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