SCOTS Chairman Warns of Dangers of Road Infrastructure Failure Due to Lack of Government Funds

Recently, the chairman of SCOTS (Society Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland) warned others of dangers resulting from critical road infrastructure failure due to the lack of government funding on the local front.

76% cut in services which are non-protected over a span of five years

76% cut in services which are non-protected over a span of five years

The SCOTS chairman, Gordon Mackay, expressed his views at Road Expo Scotland, where he spoke about the projections and the situation at the Inverclyde Council, stating that this is an indication of the bigger financial issue and situation. According to Mr. Mackay, the authority now has to face a cut of as much as 76% in services which are non-protected over a span of five years.

The role of local councils 

In light of such dire conditions, Mr. Mackay pointed out whether or not councils are still able to satisfy their statutory level or degree of obligation. Mr. Mackay also spoke about the cold weather conditions and their effect on road infrastructure failure, stating that in case another extreme winter comes, weather conditions can have a big, negative impact on the conditions of local roads. 
According to Mr. Mackay, since road conditions in many local areas in Scotland remain static, satisfaction is still high (and is even improving), and since third-party claims have decreased, some say that local councils and authorities are performing well.

But Mr. Mackay also added that they are perhaps getting very good at ‘covering’ the cracks. He said that he saw local authorities making more use of thin surfacing and doing less wholesale or extensive reconstruction. Mr. Mackay said that with this kind of situation, the risk is that the numbers may look reasonable enough, but the condition overall is delicate and fragile. Mr. Mackay went on to say that there is a real risk regarding critical road infrastructure failure.


The solution presented by reorganisation 

On the other hand, Mr. Mackay also discussed the great collaborative example presented by 32 Scottish councils, especially when it came to plans for the management of road assets, with the project now already entering its third phase, especially after the 2nd phase involved working closely with colleagues from Wales.

Mr. Mackay made a suggestion that perhaps reorganisation on the local level may be required in order to deal with the issue of funding. He added that with a national agency supported by 4 operating firms, 7 transport partnerships for each region, and 32 councils, it may be necessary to ask whether or not all these organisations are fit to deal with upcoming challenges. According to Mr. Mackay, it needs to be asked whether or not the existing models of ‘soft’ cooperation or collaboration is really enough – it needs to be looked at per region, where every region should determine if the pace is adequate.  He adds that right now, the collaboration is more of a voluntary partnership.

 

Posted on 29 Dec 2017 in News

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