MPs slam ‘plague of potholes’

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Published on 1 July 2019 by Mike Waters

The Transport Select Committee has released a damning new report criticising the ‘extreme state of disrepair’ of the nation’s roads.

In the report, which can be found here, the Committee’s MPs note the existence of a ‘plague of potholes’ and that “many people will not have to travel further than their local shops to see an extreme state of disrepair.”

However, the Committee also estimated that the total one-time cost of repairing local roads now exceeds £9bn. The entire annual transport budget for the United Kingdom is only £29bn, meaning raising such a sum quickly under existing budgets would be impractical without significant central government intervention.

Calling on the central government to intervene, the Committee stated that: “The fact that the English Local Road Network (ELRN) has been allowed to decay to the point where it would take more than a decade to bring it up to a reasonable standard is a national scandal that shows a dereliction of duty by successive governments and individual local councils. The Government must act now to remedy this.”

The Committee also identified the crux of the problem – “It is clear to us that the key issue is funding – there is not enough of it and what there is is not allocated efficiently or effectively” – before going on to argue that “the current short-term approach to funding local road maintenance is not fit for purpose”.

As the BMF has reported on extensively, the UK’s roads have an endemic pothole problem. Research by Kwik Fit found that more than 11 million road users in the UK were affected by potholes last year, while research by the AA found that almost nine out of 10 (88 per cent) drivers say roads are in a worse state now than 10 years ago.

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Picture credit: Luca Micheli on Unsplash