5 May 2021 | Innovation | Collaboration | Environment

#AsktheDfT event available to watch on demand

The Local Council Roads Innovation Group’s (LCRIG) first #AsktheDfT event is now available to watch on demand.

The event, which attracted more than 100 attendees, saw members of LCRIG able to put their questions to senior personnel from the Department for Transport (DfT).

Matthew Eglinton, Head of Local Roads Maintenance and Resilience, Local Infrastructure; and Darren Capes, ITS Policy Lead, Traffic and Technology Division – both took questions from the audience.  

The event was focused on the DfT’s local highways maintenance incentive fund, particularly around sustainability and decarbonisation. The event also provided an opportunity to honour the late Steve Berry OBE – the DfT’s head of highways maintenance, innovation and resilience – who sadly passed away earlier last month (April). 

During the discussion, Mr Eglinton was asked about the need for a long-term settlement on highways funding to allow councils to plan an effective and long-term strategy for both pothole and road maintenance.

In answering, he said: “There does need to be a long-term settlement for highways maintenance funding; that is exactly what Steve and I were working on, and what I will be continuing to work towards. I will carry on asking local highway colleagues across the sector for their continued help and support in building the evidence base, to ensure that we set out as compelling an argument as possible for it.”

Mr Capes answered questions around technology and innovation and provided an update on the recently announced traffic signals maintenance fund, which forms part of the highway maintenance fund.

From 12 April councils have been able to use the Local Council Roads Innovation Group (LCRIG) website to apply for a share of the £15 million of extra money which has been allocated to supplement existing local authority spending on the upgrade and maintenance of traffic signals and associated equipment.

As of last week, more than 100 local authorities have accessed the portal and over 30 have started to make their submission. Councils have until this Friday (7 May) to complete their application.

LCRIG Content Director Alec Peachey said: “It was a real pleasure to chair this event and an honour to help facilitate questions from our members. We hope to put on more of these sessions in the future so please keep an eye on our channels for further announcements. Until then anyone who missed the session or wants to catch up can do so.”