Laura Sharman 10 March 2016

Pothole funding only 'papering over the cracks'

Nearly two our of five drivers had their vehicles damaged by potholes over the past two years, a new survey has revealed.

The AA survey found 39% of members have suffered pothole damage, rising to 46% of drivers in Scotland.

The AA is calling on the chancellor to set aside some ‘back to basics extra funding’ to enable local authorities to fix UK roads.

‘Government special pothole crisis funds in recent years have been welcome but have only papered over the cracks on Britain’s roads,’ said president of the AA, Edmund King.

‘Autumn statement figures show that the financial year 2014/15 was estimated to have raised £27.2bn from fuel duty, almost as much as business rates’ £27.3bn and not far off council tax receipts of £27.9bn. Yet, in 2013/14, there was a £273m reduction in local authority expenditure on routine maintenance compared to the higher spending years in the last decade.

Mr King called on local authorities to ‘get to grips’ with fundamental road maintenance such as poor drainage and surfaces.

Responding to the survey, the Local Government Association (LGA) said councils fix more potholes than ever before, mending one every 15 seconds.

However, transport spokesman for the LGA, Cllr Peter Box, said: ‘The £12bn backlog of road repairs would already take councils more than a decade to clear. Councils are doing their best to focus their limited resources on carrying out more cost-effective and longer-term improvements.

‘Current funding levels, however, and the size of the backlog mean they can only keep pace with patching up our roads and filling potholes.’

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