Local councils have warned that Britain is seeing an increasing number of dangerous potholes on the roads due to government spending cuts. The reduction in the Local Government Agency’s road maintenance budget is likely to leave a large number of roads across the country in an unfit state, especially when coupled with the recent bad weather.
Nearly half a billion pounds has been cut from the budget, according to the LGA, who say that any more cuts or a continuing deterioration in the cold weather could cause serious and dramatic damage to the road network. The LGA maintains approximately 180,000 miles of local roads across England.
Peter Box, chairman of the LGA, noted that maintaining roads to a safe standard has always been a high priority for local councils, stating that a pothole was fixed or filled in ‘every 16 seconds’ since 2010, which equates to about four million repaired damage spots over the same time frame. The cost of repairing damaged roads is, remarkably, roughly twenty times more expensive than simply resurfacing them.
Local transport minister Norman Baker, defended the government’s actions in regards to the state of the roads, adding that the government was providing a good level of funding to the sector despite ongoing ‘economic challenges’. Baker noted that between 2011 and 2015, more than £3 billion had been made available to councils to tackle the issue, which he said was clear evidence of the government’s commitment to the cause.
Furthermore, Baker noted the additional £200 million that was made available for road repairs in early 2011, following particularly difficult weather during the winter of 2010. The Department of Transport had ‘simplified its funding streams’, said Baker, but it was ultimately the choice of local highways agencies as to how that funding was put to use and prioritised.