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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-00470: Daniel Johnson (Edinburgh Southern)

Scottish Labour

Date lodged: 3 June 2016

To ask the Scottish Government what action it takes to assess the condition of the country's roads; what discussions it has with local authorities regarding these conditions, and what action it is taking to prevent deterioration in road quality.

Answered by: Humza Yousaf 16 June 2016

The Transport Scotland road asset management plan sets out how Scotland's trunk road network is maintained strategically and efficiently in order to protect our assets and ensure maximum value for money from our road maintenance activities. Transport Scotland's programmed maintenance work plans are developed based on asset condition data, including results from regular inspections and annual machine-based surveys, such as Deflectograph and SCANNER.

SCANNER surveys make a number of measurements to describe the condition of the road surface, including rutting, cracking and ride quality. Deflectograph surveys are undertaken to assess the strength of the lower road layers and provide an estimate of the remaining useful life of the road. All trunk roads are also inspected at regular intervals to identify defects like potholes, which are then repaired by our operating companies within the strict timescales set-out in their contracts.

The Society of Chief Officers of Transportation Scotland (SCOTS) commission an annual SCANNER survey on behalf of all local authorities to allow them to assess the areas of road which require maintenance. The Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 places the statutory responsibility for local roads improvement, maintenance and repair with local road authorities. It is therefore the responsibility of Scottish local authorities to determine what resources they should allocate based on local needs and priorities. In 2016-17 the Scottish Government provided local authorities with total funding of over £10.3 billion this includes funding for road maintenance.

As part of the work of the Roads Collaboration Board and Strategic Action Group we regularly have discussions with representatives from SCOTS and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives on embedding best practice. In addition, road authorities have been working with industry partners to make positive changes to how road maintenance is undertaken, with focus on efficiency, collaboration and innovation.