Crumbling road network needs urgent investment

One in five local roads in England and Wales are in a poor condition, according to a report published today.

In the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey of councils ahead of the Budget, the Asphalt Industry Alliance urged the Chancellor to make increased investment in the local road network a priority next Wednesday (20 March).

Alan Mackenzie, chairman of the Asphalt Industry Alliance, said: “The additional £215m over the next two years announced in 2012’s Autumn Statement was welcome, but was clearly not enough.

“Last year’s extreme rainfall created an estimated £338m of damage, to be covered by a service already struggling with an annual shortfall of over £800m,” he added.

Previous research by YouGov for the alliance has put the cost, in terms of lost productivity, of poor roads to businesses at £5bn.

Key findings of the report, which 75% of councils in England and Wales responded to, are:
•    There is a £831m shortfall in the annual road structural budget
•    It would take 12 years based on current budgets to clear the carriageway maintenance backlog in England (excluding London)
•    Councils spent £112.7m filling potholes last year
•    Percentage of budget used on reactive maintenance in London 33%

In response, Maria Eagle MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, said: “Ministers can’t duck their responsibility for pothole Britain. Having cut £1.2 billion from road maintenance budgets in the Spending Review, they should not insult motorists by seeking credit for restoring just a fraction of that funding.