Local road conditions in England and Wales revealed as pothole repair budgets reach ‘record high’ | UK News

Almost one in five local roads, covering nearly 37,000 miles, in England and Wales are in poor condition and have less than five years of life remaining, a new report has found.

The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey says shortfalls in council pothole repair budgets have reached a record high.

It estimates the one-time cost of bringing all local roads up to scratch now stands at £14bn and would take 11 years to complete.

But local authorities said they only received two-thirds of what they needed during the current financial year to stop roads further deteriorating.

This resulted in a total carriageway maintenance budget shortfall of £1.3bn – an increase of more than a fifth on the previous 12 months, and the highest figure in 28 years.

The Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), which commissioned the research, said this is because budgets have not kept pace with cost increases caused by inflation.

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Rick Green, who chairs the AIA, said the £200m boost for filling potholes on local roads in England during the next financial year – announced in Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Budget last week – was welcome but “not enough” as it will “do little to improve overall structural conditions and stem further decline”.

“Highway engineers can only do so much with the resources they are given and should be applauded for the steps they take to keep roads safe,” he said.

“We all appreciate that there are difficult choices to make with demands and pressures on the public purse coming from every area, but not investing in local road maintenance only leads to worsening conditions, which impact on other locally provided public services, a rising bill to fix the problem and more road user complaints.”

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “We are investing more than £5bn from 2020 to 2025 into local highways maintenance, and recently announced an extra £200m at the Budget to fix millions of potholes a year.

“This will help make journeys smoother and safer for all, repair dozens of bridges, and resurface roads up and down the country.”


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