Transport Secretary encourages Brits back to offices but 65% of commuters say no to public transport


Grant Shapps, the government's Transport Secretary, told Sky News this morning "it is now safe to go back" to work, as the government prepares a push to get people to return to the office. In a new advert next week, government messages will emphasise the benefits of employees returning to workplaces, as well as encouraging businesses to make their offices COVID-secure.

Speaking to Sky News on Friday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: "What we're saying to people is it is now safe to go back. Your employer should have made arrangements which are appropriate to make sure it is coronavirus-safe to work."

 It has already been noted that British office workers have returned to their desks at a much slower pace than staff in France, Germany, Italy or Spain, as they continue to work from home following the lockdown. Only one-third (34%) of UK white-collar employees have gone back to work, coming way behind their European contemporaries, where almost three-quarters of staff (68%) have done so.

This reticence to return to the office comes as new nationally representative research from Roadmender Asphalt, a Sheffield-based road repair SME, has unveiled that Brits are still deeply sceptical towards using public transport to travel back to the office. The research revealed that 69% of Brits would rather cycle to work now than take public transport due to the COVID-19 risk, amounting to 24,261,000 people. Furthermore, the study has unveiled that 65% would not feel comfortable commuting to work via public transport anymore. As millions of Brits are being urged to head back to work, road infrastructures across the nation will begin to be used further under a new norm of post-COVID conditions. Ensuring road safety is of paramount importance to make sure that these proposals are as beneficial as they can be. In turn, it is more important than ever that councils expand on the brilliant work they do to ensure potholes and road defects are addressed quickly, maintaining safety on the roads.

Key stats

  • 69% of Brits would rather cycle to work now than take public transport due to the COVID-19

  • 65% would not feel comfortable commuting to work via public transport anymore 

  • 35% agree travelling back to work in a traditional office environment will have a negative impact on their mental health

  • 32% agreed driving is the most stressful part of their day, caused by the poor quality of roads

  • 19% are willing to pay an extra 10% on top of their council tax bill for road improvements

To aid the provision of pothole repairs in the UK, Roadmender Asphalt,  have recently come up with a novel approach to pothole repairs designed around a new material specifically designed for the job. Elastomac, as the innovation is known, is a novel repair material, made from predominantly recycled materials, that include seven end of life tyres recycled into every tonne. 

Harry Pearl, CEO of Roadmender Asphalt, sheds a light on the importance of innovative thinking led by councils that is helping to transform the efficiency of road repairs. "After a decade of austerity, councils have naturally gravitated towards innovation and have helped launch R&D hubs, working with innovative SMEs. Together, SMEs and councils have started to ask why are pothole repairs filled with the same materials made to build roads, when they can fill potholes with materials made specifically for the job, that may prove to be significantly more efficient and cost-effective.

Experienced by councils up and down the land, the problem with pothole repairs is they are carried out using a process built around materials designed for building roads rather than fixing them. As a result, the process is more costly, inefficient and ineffective than it needs to be, rather like playing squash with a tennis racquet. You can do it but it’s far from ideal."

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