Call for road repair funding after spike in pothole problems
Councils and motoring organisations have called for long-term and consistent funding for local road maintenance after a survey highlighted an increasing number of pothole-related incidents.
The RAC’s quarterly Pothole Index revealed a three-year high in pothole-related vehicle breakdowns, partly caused by the prolonger cold weather earlier in the year.
The second quarter of 2018 saw 4,091 call-outs for vehicles damaged by potholes, the highest number since 2015, the RAC said.
David Bizley, RAC chief engineer, said: “Councils have been working hard to fix potholes and general road surface degradation, but despite further emergency funding from central government, their budgets are even more stretched than in previous years.
“Our figures demonstrate they are not winning the battle and as a result the safety of too many drivers, cyclists and motorcyclists is being put at risk.”
The Local Government Association has called on central government to stop prioritising national roads over local ones and to fund councils accordingly.
Martin Tett, the LGA’s transport spokesman, said: “Only long-term, consistent and fairer government investment in local road maintenance can allows councils to embark on the widespread improvement of our roads that is desperately needed.
“The government is spending 52 times more on maintaining our national roads than our local roads when very few journeys begin and end up on a motorway or trunk road.”
The LGA has been calling on the government to reinvest 2 pence per litre of existing fuel duty into local road maintenance, which could generate £1bn a year for councils to spend on improving roads.
This was today backed by the RAC.
The LGA estimates that there is a £9bn roads repair backlog in England and Wales.
A Department for Transport spokesperson, said: “We have listened to the concerns of road users and are already providing councils in England with over £6bn to help improve the condition of our local highways.
“This funding includes a record £296m through the Pothole Action Fund – enough to fix around 6 million potholes.”