More than 70 senior highways managers from local authorities across Wales and the South West have attended a supply chain forum hosted by Tarmac and supply chain partner, Total, designed to encourage collaborative working.
Debate and discussions focused on a range of topical industry issues from the latest technical and sustainable product innovations and developments to asset management, the AIA Annual Alarm Survey, as well as funding challenges for local government.
The key speakers were from both local authorities and the private sector, including South Gloucestershire Council, Norfolk County Council, Cardiff Council, Nottingham University, Metis, Tarmac and Total.
The forum is the latest in an ongoing series of accredited learning events for local authority highways professionals organised by Tarmac, which encourage debate on the challenges and opportunities facing local government in maintaining the road network.
Toby Pyper, Tarmac’s regional director - south at Contracting, who spoke at the forum, said: “We are delighted with the positive feedback from delegates. The way we build, maintain and manage our roads is undergoing a period of unprecedented change with over-specification and sustainability increasingly offering opportunities to drive improvements. As the volume and expectations of road users continue to rise and local authority budgets face continued pressure, there is a growing recognition of the need for continued collaboration to improve the management of our highways.”
Rick Ashton, Total Bitumen’s market development manager, who also spoke at the event, added: “This was another successful CPD day for Tarmac and Total Bitumen. Total enjoy collaborating and supporting these events around Tarmac’s regional customer bases. This strong partnership is delivering very tangible benefits for their clients through sharing best practice, driving efficiencies in the highways sector and assisting their customers optimise their materials selection.”
Jonathan Munslow, asset and infrastructure group manager at South Gloucestershire Council, who spoke on funding challenges, commented: “It was a great opportunity to engage with key people from the sector, both at a strategic and practical level. Local councils tend to be “capital rich, but revenue poor”, so it was really useful to discuss funding challenges for councils, as well as opportunities on how to bid for funding.”
Meanwhile, Tarmac’s national technical director, Brian Kent, who presented on innovation and sustainability, said: “The annual forum is always a great way to engage with our customers and potential customers, and this event was no exception. It was a productive and rewarding session and we’re delighted to be able to combine the opportunity for delegates to learn from industry peers, while supporting their professional development.”
The forum was held at Celtic Manor on 16 May in Newport, Wales with delegates receiving Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for their participation.