Pavement renewal Response- MEQ

  1. Tarmac is a term frequently used, based on traditional tar based products which are not used nowadays. Modern asphalt (which uses bitumen and is not carcinogenic) is a very resistant widely used product and has many benefits over traditional paving. Answers to your specific questions are given below. The use of asphalt or paving is set out in the Council’s streetscape guidance. Asphalt as a footway material is not particularly new and has been in place for a number of years. A copy of the Council’s Highway maintenance Plan, which gives further information. Both documents can be found at –
  2. Asphalt surfacing is extensively used by highway authorities across the UK. Cost is not the only factor, although, as I am sure you appreciate, with set budgets, finance must be spent wisely and fairly and with over 1,100km of footways to maintain, Enfield, like all local authorities, is continually being challenged to produce more for less, particularly in the current economic climate.

    A study undertaken by the Transport Research Laboratory (report reference PPR 105), looked at the whole life cost comparison of asphalt surfacing and paved footways which indicated savings across the whole life of the pavement, based on typical maintenance regimes.  Bituminous macadam performs better than paving slabs in that it is more resistant to vehicle overrun and where failure occurs, far less likely to result in a trip hazard. When taking into account the reduced risk of trips and the costs of the resulting accidents, the whole life costs of paving compared to asphalt surfacing significantly increases. There is considerable benefit to reducing the risk of accidents as well as a direct cost benefit to the highway authority if claims can be reduced.

    The use of asphalt surfacing is therefore a far more sustainable solution resulting in the need for fewer repairs in the future and in turn will lead to lower costs and less disruption to residents. Previous locations where paving slabs have been used have, in many instances, required numerous bollards to be installed to protect the paving from damage by vehicle overrun adding to the general level of street clutter.
  3. As stated above pavements across the borough are now far more likely to suffer from vehicle overrun. It is essential that the appropriate materials are used for whole life and ongoing maintenance costs. Asphalt pavements have greater resilience to damage and considerably less trips than paving does when damaged. To put this in context, twice as many reactive maintenance defects are undertaken on pavements compared with roads and the majority of these are for broken paving slabs. In addition, damaged paving slabs tend to displace with greater risk of trips and falls to pedestrians.
  4. Both asphalt and paving can last a very long time, however as stated above asphalt is more resilient than paving to vehicle overrun.

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