Laura Sharman 26 March 2019

Report finds disparities in highways maintenance funding

An increase in local authority highways maintenance budgets is helping to stem the decline in local roads, a new report has found.

The annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey found that budgets have increased by nearly 20% for the second consecutive year.

However, the survey - published by the Asphalt Industry Alliance - found that years of underfunding have led to a decline in the local roads network, which requires nearly £10bn to bring to it back to a reasonable condition.

It also identified disparities of funding, ranging from less than £9,000 per mile of local authority road network to more than £90,000 per mile.

Rick Green, chairman of the AIA, said: ‘There are glimmers of hope but, while overall highway maintenance budgets are up, there is still a big discrepancy between the haves and have nots.

’Some local authorities received the equivalent of £90,000 per mile of their individual networks, while a third continue to struggle with reduced budgets, with several having less than £9,000 per mile to maintain their local roads.’

The survey also found there has been a 29% increase in the number of potholes filled in England and London, with one being filled every 17 seconds.

Cllr Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s Transport spokesman, said: ‘Extra one-off funding announced in the Budget will help councils continue to try and improve roads this year but the Spending Review needs to provide councils with long-term and consistent funding to invest in the resurfacing projects which our road network desperately needs over the next decade.’

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