More Funding Needed For Local Roads
Author: Gina Bailey
The Local Government Association (LGA), who represent 349 English councils, want the Government to spend more money on England’s local roads when it was relieved that motorways and major truck roads receive 52 times more central funding per mile. The Association want the Government to decrease the inequality so its members can tackle the £12 billion bill to repair local roads up to par which includes fixing more potholes. They found that the Government plans to spend around £1.1 million per mile to maintain its strategic road network between 2015 and 2020.
Yet the LGA will provide councils only £21,000 per mile for local roads over the same period. This is in spite of an increase of the number of drivers travelling on local roads, average speeds falling and local roads making up 98% of England’s road network according to the LGA. It was announced in July Transport Secretary Chris Grayling unveiled plans to give councils access to a multibillion-pound fund for local road schemes.
However, the LGA would like the Government to be more ambitious and reinvest two pence per litre of existing fuel duty into local road maintenance, which would be worth £1 billion per year. Martin Tett an LGA spokesman called for "long-term and consistent funding to allow councils to embark on the widespread improvement of our roads that is desperately needed. Very few journeys begin and end on a motorway or trunk road. Spending 52 times more on improving our national roads will only speed vehicles up between increased delays and congestion on local roads. Councils are fixing a pothole every 19 seconds despite funding pressures. They want to do more but are trapped in an endless cycle of patching up our deteriorating network."
Head of Roads policy for the AA Jack Cousens said "Residential streets are increasingly riddled with potholes and, even when they are filled, our roads look like patchwork quilts rather than the smooth highways we need to ensure safety for all road users. It is only right to start the long-term planning for how we fund upgrading and maintaining the local road network."
In 2017 local authorities in England reduced their total highway transport budgets by £162 million, this included road maintenance to repair pothole riddled routes, the running of street lights and patrols of school crossing in their areas compared to 12 months ago. Car breakdowns caused by potholes rose by almost a third between April and June last year according to the RAC. The roadside assistance provider said it attended over 3500 reported calls out during the second quarter of last year, reaching motorist with cars suffering broken suspension springs, damage shock absorbers and distorted wheels after driving through potholes.
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