Laura Sharman 24 March 2020

Local roads backlog exceeds £11bn, survey warns

The average local authority is facing a shortfall of £4.9m to repair and maintain local roads, new research has shown.

The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey shows highway maintenance budgets have fallen by 16% in the past year.

Published by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), the survey shows it would cost more than £11bn to get roads back into a reasonable condition, and would take 11 years to clear the maintenance backlog if councils had the funding to do so.

Rick Green, chair of the AIA, said: ‘The £2.5bn extra funding over the next five years announced in the Budget will certainly be welcomed by hardpressed local authority highway teams dealing with increasing demands on smaller budgets, as well as the effects of extreme weather events, such as the recent storms, on an ageing network.

‘However, £500m extra a year divided across English local authorities is a long way off the one-time catch-up cost of £11.14bn that ALARM 2020 indicates is needed to bring our local roads across England, London and Wales up to a level from which they can be maintained cost effectively going forward.

Cllr David Renard, the Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, said: 'Additional funding announced in the Budget will help councils to do more to maintain our roads this year and tackle our local road repairs backlog, and we look forward to seeing the details of how this money will be allocated between councils.

'To help councils go further to maintain our roads, they need devolved infrastructure and public transport budgets – ensuring a funding allocation in advance for five years, which would enable them to deliver infrastructure improvements that allow people to move around in less carbon intensive and more sustainable ways.'

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