William Eichler 28 October 2019

DfT supports long-term funding proposal to tackle ‘plague of potholes’

DfT supports long-term funding proposal to tackle ‘plague of potholes’ image

Local authority leaders have welcomed a Department for Transport commitment to a longer-term funding settlement which could help councils tackle the ‘plague of potholes’ on local roads.

In a report, published in July, the Transport Committee proposed a front-loaded, long-term funding settlement for councils to help them improve the maintenance of local roads.

In response the Department for Transport has promised to press the Treasury for a more sustainable funding settlement.

‘A simple visit to the shops or the regular journey to work can result in injury or damage to someone’s vehicle from the plague of potholes on our local roads. This is an issue that affects everyone – pedestrians, cyclists and drivers – every day,’ said chair of the Transport Committee Lilian Greenwood.

‘We therefore welcome the commitment from the Department to work across Government on giving local councils the cash and long-term funding certainty they need to tackle the effects on roads of years of neglect.’

The Local Government Association (LGA) estimates that the Government spends 43 times more per mile on maintaining national roads, which make up just 3% of all roads, than on local roads, which are controlled by councils and make up 97% of England’s road network.

Cllr Darren Rodwell, the Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, welcomed the Department for Transport’s response.

‘It is good that the Department for Transport rightly backs our call for long-term roads funding for councils,’ he said.

‘Councils are on the side of all road users and are working hard to try and keep our roads safe and resilient, and despite significant funding pressures, are fixing a pothole every 17 seconds.

‘The Government’s infrastructure strategy needs to provide stable, devolved infrastructure budgets to councils, in the same way as Highways England and Network Rail.

'Providing councils with a five-year funding allocation would mean they can invest in road maintenance and other infrastructure projects.’

According to the annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), there is an average annual shortfall of £4.1m per authority in highways maintenance budgets.

The AIA estimates it would cost £8bn to fix the backlog of local road maintenance issues.

‘We believe that an extra £1bn, each year for 10 years is needed to bring road conditions up to a level from which they can be maintained cost effectively going forward,’ said a spokesperson for AIA.

‘We hope those in control of the purse strings will heed the calls for a significant long-term settlement.’

Darren Shirley, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport, described the Department for Transport’s commitment as ‘very welcome’.

‘The poor condition of many local roads is a key concern for drivers, bus passengers, cyclists and pedestrians alike,’ he said.

‘Long-term funding certainty will allow local authorities to plan maintenance and repairs confidently and cost-effectively.’

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: ‘For many years we have called for local authorities to be given the certainty of long-term funding to improve the roads under their control, so this is very welcome news.

‘Drivers are still twice as likely to break down as a result of hitting a pothole in 2019 compared to 2006, and substandard roads is regularly one of drivers’ top concerns according to the RAC Report on Motoring – so any changes to improve the situation can’t really come soon enough.’

Highways jobs

Senior Manager – Older Adults – Residential Care

Cumbria County Council
£68,709 - £71,218
This pivotal role requires leadership and management of the Council's twenty in house Residential Care services Carlisle, Cumbria
Recuriter: Cumbria County Council

Education, Health and Care (EHC) Co-ordinators

Buckinghamshire Council
£30,874 - £37,188 per annum
Interested in a career as an EHC Coordinator? Come along to our drop-in event to meet members of the SEND team and find out more about the role! England, Buckinghamshire, Aylesbury
Recuriter: Buckinghamshire Council

Analyst

Essex County Council
£30000 - £35350 per annum
This opportunity is on a 12-month, fixed term basis. Working hours are Monday to Friday, 37 hours per week. Our Data & Analytics service is evolving, England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

FM Performance Administrator

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
¡£27,690 to £33,554 per annum
Looking for an experienced and professional Facilities Performance Administrator with a proven track record for... London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Team Manager - Special Guardianship Order Support

Essex County Council
Negotiable
In ECC we are "Serious about Social Work". Having recently won the Best Social Work Employer of the Year Award 2018 and been awarded 'Outstanding' by England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

This issue of Local Government News explores how councils can tackle modern slavery and trafficking in their supply chains, finds out more about Cambridge's first cohousing scheme and the launch of a new project to build a shared service pattern library for local government.

This issue also contains a special focus on children's services and how councils are protecting children following local safeguarding children boards being abolished.

Register for your free magazine