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Materials shortage hikes price of Hampshire County Council roadworks

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A SHORTAGE of raw materials has made roadworks "significantly" more expensive.

When Hampshire County Council’s ruling cabinet met it was reported that highways work was seeing inflation rates of 17% – more than triple the national rate of inflation, writes David George of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The council report claimed highways and construction workers were seeing "significant supply chain challenges" as a result of the pandemic, Brexit and global transport issues.

The county council carried out 53,847 roadworks in the past two years
The county council carried out 53,847 roadworks in the past two years

Cllr Russell Oppenheimer, cabinet member for highways operations, said: "The thing that has gone up most is the price of concrete – that’s linked to the infrastructure boom that we’re having globally, everyone wants to build things at the moment.

"As the cost of oil goes up, we have also seen an increase in plastic prices. We use the plastics in paint, so that has an impact too.

"The main issue with this huge increase is that it’s higher than the national rate of inflation, which is around 5%. This inflationary pressure is a challenge for highways – the cabinet had previously decided on spending an extra £7m per year, but inflation has gobbled that up."

Cllr Oppenheimer added that additional money may yet be needed to fund transport projects, despite the council needing to save £80m.

Cabinet colleague Cllr Stephen Reid, member for performance, HR and partnerships, suggested that the council will have to prove it is somewhat self-sufficient to win bids from the government.

He said: "In the future, I foresee the need to show the government that we are helping ourselves as much as we can.

"Recycling road materials will become crucial if we are to show that the funding we request is based on a genuine need."

Freedom of Information Act requests from Moneybarn showed that the county council carried out 53,847 roadworks in the past two years.

HCC reported that tender prices have also increased by more than 6% a year.

Council officers hope that more "innovative, value-engineered solutions" can be found at a reduced cost, with plans to work more closely with contractors and stakeholders when it comes to future projects.

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