Ellie Ames 12 September 2023

Reinstate ringfencing for pothole repairs, MPs say

Reinstate ringfencing for pothole repairs, MPs say  image
Image: ronstik / Shutterstock.com.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for better roads has issued a report calling for the Government to restore ringfencing and multi-year settlements for local road maintenance.

The APPG’s chairman, Sir Christopher Chope MP, said: ‘Both the Prime Minister and the chancellor have pledged to tackle the “plague of potholes” on our local roads.

‘But, as this report shows, funding for local road maintenance is falling and the Government’s assumption that hard pressed local authorities will spend allocations on roads is not enough.’

The report draws on a review of the pothole action fund that suggests the policy contributed to ‘marked improvements’ in the conditions of local roads when it was in place from 2015-2021.

The fund, a six-year commitment allocated to English local authorities, could be used by highway teams to secure funding for preventative maintenance and resurfacing works as well as pothole repairs.

Analysis for the APPG for Better Roads indicates that the ringfencing led to an increased proportion of England’s local network being classed as in ‘good condition’, with 12,377 miles – 7% – of local roads moving into this category over the six years the fund was available.

Since 2021, when the pothole action fund was incorporated into councils’ general block highway funding from the Department for Transport (DfT), the proportion of roads classed as ‘good’ has fallen by 5%, or 8,811 miles of roads.

The APPG’s report also highlights that the average shortfall in authorities’ highway maintenance budgets has increased by 82% since the end of ringfenced funding.

If this article was of interest, then check out our feature, 'The great pothole repair failure.'

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