We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

As More Spending on New Roads is Announced, the Tory Government Cuts Funds for Maintenance.

June 6, 2020 5:30 PM

Steam RollerIn his Spring Budget, the Chancellor announced a further £29.5 billion funding package to upgrade England's roads. This included £27 billion for new investments from 2020 to 2025, but only £2.5 billion extra for road maintenance over the same period, though local authorities in England will receive an additional £500 million a year via the 'Potholes Fund'.

The Chair of the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), said: "This additional funding will certainly be welcomed by hard-pressed local authorities, but £500 million extra a year is still a fraction of the amount needed to deal with decades of underfunding, the effects of extreme weather and an ageing network."

This year's Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey reports that one in five local roads are now classed as being in poor structural condition due to a continuing lack of sustained investment in the network. The average Highway Maintenance budget is down 16%. Across England this represents a Carriageway Maintenance budget shortfall of £826.6m per year.

In addition, the proportion of highway maintenance budgets spent on the road surface and structure has also fallen, as local authorities now have to spend more on bridges and drainage works, because of the effects of an increased rainfall on the network.

Overall, this year's ALARM survey shows 7,240 fewer miles of roads in GOOD structural condition, i.e. with 15 years or more of life remaining, and 1,100 more miles of roads classed as POOR, with less than 5 year's life remaining. This brings the total of roads in poor condition to 42,675 miles.

Nick Hollinghurst, Hertfordshire County Councillor for Tring & the Villages commented, "In the first place, road investment should be directed towards reducing road use, especially for moving freight, rather than building more roads and stimulating more traffic. Secondly, it should be directed towards investment in the infrastructure needed for more sustainable forms of transport, such as Electric Vehicles, rather than directed towards the continued use of obsolete petrol and diesel cars. Thirdly - and this is only common sense - the government should be ensuring that sufficient funds are available for the maintenance of the existing road network, rather than building more new roads while the existing ones fall apart!"

The ALARM survey reports estimate that £11.14 billion is needed across England and Wales to bring local networks up to a level from which they can be maintained cost-effectively.