Council cuts have stopped 7.8 million pothole repairs, analysis reveals

6 Jul 19
Cuts to spending on road maintenance since 2010 could have paid for 7.8 million pothole repairs, analysis has shown.

The amount English councils have been able to spend on routine road maintenance has plummeted by 37% from £1.1bn in 2009-10 to around £701m in 2017-18, according analysis of government figures by the Local Government Association.

This £399m drop in funding could have paid for 7.8 million potholes, the group estimated.

Routine road maintenance includes minor road repairs like potholes, cleaning drains, inspection and fixing street lighting.

Martin Tett, the LGA’s transport spokesperson, said: “Potholes can be the bane of motorist’s life. They can damage vehicles and cause accidents.

“Councils are on the side of motorists, and are doing all they can to keep our roads safe and resilient, repairing potholes quickly as they can. But unprecedented funding cuts have meant councils are increasingly limited in how much they can invest in looking after our country’s roads.”

The LGA said that councils are fixing a pothole every 17 seconds on average but it will still take more than £9bn and a decade to tackle road repairs backlog.

The umbrella group recommended the government use the Spending Review to provide the funding necessary to fix the country’s “dilapidated” roads.

A government spokesperson said: “We know potholes are a nuisance and a hazard for all road users, particularly for cyclists and motorcyclists.

“To improve local roads we are providing councils with £6.6billion between 2015 and 2020, which includes more than £700million for extra maintenance.”

Parliament’s transport committee this week called on the government to provide a five-year funding settlement to help councils fix roads.

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