The QPANI are calling on the Executive to give Roads Maintenance the priority it deserves by ring fencing £110 million pounds for a minimum of three years.
This will deliver better value for money through more effective planning by the Client and the Industry.
State of the Roads Campaign
The Quarry Products Industry has invested significantly in Northern Ireland and plays a pivotal role in supporting the local economy. QPANI are initiating a high profile campaign to have our roads network maintained to a level that gives quality, safety and value for money. We intend to intensify this campaign over the coming months both in the media and at the Assembly in order that the Executive gives the maintenance of our roads network the priority it deserves.
If we are not maintaining our roads asset we are devaluing it.
The Roads Network in Northern Ireland is by far the largest asset that the public sector manages and is worth some £30 billion. Government is attempting to maintain this asset for less than a 1/5 of one percent of its value. This, in our view is impossible.
Statistics show that in Northern Ireland we spend £2,800 per km on roads maintenance compared with recent outturns in England of some £12,000 per km and Wales of about £7,500 per km”. It is our Associations view that the Department of Regional Development are accepting liability for the condition and failure of the network as a result of this under funding.
If our existing roads infrastructure is not maintained to satisfactory standards and urgent action now needs to be taken if we, as a society, are not to incur significant costs as maintenance of our roads network turns into reconstruction and more importantly the safety of the travelling public is compromised.
In 2002 the Regional Transport Strategy and the Reconstruction and Re-Investment Initiative stated that we needed to invest significantly more in maintaining our existing roads network if we were not to experience greater costs in the future. Whereas the road construction industry has delivered in terms of investing in new machinery, in training, quality, safety and recruitment the Government has totally failed in delivering the promised investment.
In his 2006 annual report the Roads Service Chief Executive stated
“An area of risk about which I am concerned is that the level of funding made available to Roads Service for structural maintenance is insufficient to maintain the road network in a satisfactory condition on an ongoing basis”.
He goes on to identify that Roads Service
“have independently assessed annual funding requirement of £95m” for Roads Maintenance and that “on the non trunk road network we continue to ‘paper over the cracks’ on too many occasions”.
The Chief Executive also highlights the fact that in Northern Ireland
“the structural maintenance outturn in 2005/06 was equivalent to some £2,800 per km compared with recent outturns in England of some £12,000 per km and Wales of about £7,500 per km”.
PAST and CURRENT LOBBYING AND FUTURE STRATEGY ON ROADS MAINTENANCE FUNDING
In the past 4 years QPANI have met with 3 direct rule Ministers
More recently we met with Peter Robinson MP, Finance Minister and Connor Murphy DRD Minister.
Three Assembly questions put down and answered by the DRD Minister.
Motion tabled for debate at the Assembly “That this Assembly calls on the Minister for Regional Development to ring-fence, for a minimum of three years, a roads maintenance funding allocation of £110 million per year”
Representation to the the Northern Ireland Audit Office. Attendance by a representative, Eddie Bradley, of the NIAO at our Asphalt Technical Committee
Letter to the European Commisioner, Danuta Hubner, responsible for Regional Development highlighting the Roads Service failure to maintain a roads network that was partly funded by EU Grants. ( December 2005)
Representation to the Public Accounts Committee at Westminster ( Dec 2005 )
Representation to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee urging an enquiry into the level of roads Maintenace and the related safety issues it presents. ( May 2006 )
Representation to the Secretary of State Peter Hain ( Aug 2006 )
Joint letter signed by CBI, IOD, FTA, CEF and NIMG sent to Secretary of State Peter Hain
Regular contact with the DRD Committee Clerk Rosin Kelly
Production of Issues Paper for members of the DRD Committee and Finance Minister
Production of briefing paper for MLAs in advance of an Assembly debate (October 2007)
Meeting with the DRD Minister on (October 2007)
Presentation to the DRD Committee (November 2007)
Presentations to sixteen of the 26 Councils.
Correspondence highlightings main issues to Council Chief Executives.
Correspondence and verbal representation to the the President and Chief Executive of the Northern Ireland Local Government Association.
Regular coverage of the issue in local papers.
45 minute phone in to Regional Director on BBC Radio Ulster Talkback in 2005
In April 2006 BBC Newsline covered the issue over a period of two nights when they had correspondents reporting from different parts of NI on the state of the roads.
Representation to the Roads Safety Council
Representation to RoSPA
Representation to PSNI seeking stats on RTAs in Northern Ireland
Partnering Freight Transport Association
Professionally produced information bulletin setting out key impacts such as safety, lack of value for money, long term costs and impact on economy. This would be specifically targeted at the DRD and Finance Ministers all MLAs, MPs and Councillors and members of the Road Safety Council Regional Committees.
Meetings with CBI, IOD,FSB,CEF, FTA,NILGA,Roads Safety Council.