William Eichler 23 April 2018

Council chiefs call for ‘real investment’ to fix local roads

Local authority leaders have called on the Government to provide ‘real investment’ for local roads as new research reveals drivers in England spent one million years on the road in 2016.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has calculated that English drivers travelled 277 billion miles in 2016 — the equivalent of 989 trips to Mars and back.

This staggering figure, two thirds of which was spent on local roads, represents an increase of 17.4 billion miles on the 2010 number.

The new findings have prompted the LGA to urge Whitehall to ensure funding matches the increased infrastructure pressures and demand on local roads.

A ‘radical’ new funding strategy is required, the LGA insisted, and should involve reinvesting 2 pence per litre of existing fuel duty which would generate £1bn a year for councils to spend on local roads maintenance.

It would take £9.3bn and over 14 years for councils to clear the current local road repairs backlog, the local authority representatives pointed out.

‘Only long-term and consistent investment in local road maintenance will allow councils to embark on the widespread improvement of our roads that is desperately needed, to the benefit of all road users up and down the country,’ said Cllr Martin Tett, LGA Transport spokesman.

Research from the LGA, published last January, also discovered that national roads will receive 52 times more Government funding than local roads by 2020.

The Government plans to spend £1.1m per mile to maintain its strategic road network over the next two years, but councils will only receive £21,000 per mile to maintain their local roads.

The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey, published last March, also revealed more than 24,400 miles of roads need essential repair in the next year.

Produced by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), the poll showed that the gap between the funding each local authority received and how much they need to maintain local roads is now £3.3m per authority.

The cycling charity Cycle UK has also recently revealed councils across the UK have paid out at least £43m on compensation claims from potholes over the last five years.

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