Councils ‘Cannot Afford £10bn Road Repairs’

The number of potholes on England and Wales’ roads has increased dramatically – and councils say they cannot afford the £10bn repair bill.

A new report reveals the shortfall in the highway maintenance budget received by local authorities from central Government in 2011 is £895m, up 12% on last year.

The Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) survey shows the total number of potholes filled in 2010-11 reached 2.2m, a 59% increase on the previous 12 months.

And local authorities estimated the one-off investment needed to get roads back into good condition was £10.7bn.

AIA chairman Colin Loveday said: “Local authorities are doing what they can, but reactive maintenance – such as simply filling potholes when they appear – is at least 20 times more expensive than planned preventative maintenance.”

We have to keep up the battle against this blight which damages cars and risks road safety, especially for those on two wheels.

Edmund King, AA President

The AIA report says most authorities in England and Wales were unable to repair the damage caused by the extreme cold snap at the start of 2010 before snow fell again at the end of the year.

In a separate survey of 15,000 AA members, 81% think the condition of roads has deteriorated in the last three years.

Scotland, Yorkshire and Humberside came out worst in the survey.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “We have to keep up the battle against this blight which damages cars and risks road safety, especially for those on two wheels.

“Cyclists, motorbike riders, drivers and pedestrians need to take care on our roads and pavements as inadvertently hitting a deep pothole can cause considerable injury or damage.”

The Government announced an extra £200m for pothole repair in the Budget.

Local transport minister Norman Baker said: “Despite the current severe fiscal restraints we have protected this year’s funding for local road maintanence and are providing £3bn to councils for road maintenance over the next four years.

“It, however, remains the responsibility of local councils to plan and manage their road maintenance programmes throughout the year, including appropriate winter resilience measures.”


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