William Eichler 19 January 2018

Road maintenance spending at ‘lowest level’ in a decade

Road maintenance spending at ‘lowest level’ in a decade image

Newly released Government figures show that road maintenance spending by councils is at the lowest level it has been in 10 years.

Department for Transport (DfT) statistics show local authority maintenance spending on B roads, C roads and unclassified routes in 2016-17 was £1.87bn.

This is the lowest it has been in a decade and is down from £2.46bn in 2004-05.

The DfT also said the state of local authority-managed highways and other major roads has improved ‘gradually’ over the last five years.

‘The latest figures from the Department for Transport show the chronic need for more investment in local roads,’ said Cllr Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s (LGA) transport spokesman.

‘Councils are doing what they can against a backlog of repairs on our local roads which currently stands at over £12bn and is estimated to take 14 years to fix.’

Emphasising the fact that councils face a £5.8bn funding gap by 2020, Cllr Tett continued: ‘Facing ongoing budgetary pressures, councils regularly review their spending priorities in order to enable businesses and communities to connect with each other, meet the needs of their local economies and keep road users safe.

‘However, in order to bring all roads up to scratch they need long-term and sustained investment from central government, which can be addressed in part in the forthcoming final Local Government Finance Settlement.’

Commenting on the DfT’s latest statistics, Edmund King, AA president says: 'While spend on maintaining and improving the road surface on motorways and A-roads has increased, spend on local roads has decreased again.

‘Most journeys start and end on local roads, so while there is an argument to keep the fastest roads in good condition, we should not be neglecting local streets.

‘Cost-cutting on UK roads has already contributed to 11 people losing their lives with the switching off of street lights. Potholes have contributed towards at least three cyclists lives. A systemic downgrading of inspection and repair standards for potholes introduces a new level of potential lethality.

‘If the Government and local authorities want drivers to leave their cars at home and cycle to work and on short journeys, allowing roads to become more treacherous for two-wheelers is not the way to do it.’

In competition with the PWLB image

In competition with the PWLB

Christian Wall considers what alternative funding channels are available to local authorities beyond the Public Works Loan Board.
Avoiding the precipice image

Avoiding the precipice

As councils seek ways to meet the funding gap, Martin Reeves and Rob Whiteman look at the implications for the future of public services and how we need a mature debate on prevention, accountability and joined up services.
Highways jobs

Change Lead, Adult Social Care & Health

London Borough of Bexley
£41,205 - £48,069
We are currently seeking an experienced Change Lead to work on our Adult Social Care Services’ transformation programme. Bexleyheath, London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Bexley

Deputy Team Manager

Brent Council
£41,847 - £44,691 p.a. inc.
An exciting opportunity has arisen in the Hospital Discharge Team (HDT) for an experienced Social Worker. Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Highways Estimator

Ringway
Competitive Salary
As the Highways Estimator you will join a busy environment and become an integral part of the team. Hounslow (London Borough), London (Greater)
Recuriter: Ringway

Joint Strategic Director of Commissioning 

West Sussex County Council
circa £130,000 per annum
The post holder will be able to demonstrate an understanding and embrace the opportunity to address the health... West Sussex
Recuriter: West Sussex County Council

Head of Lifelong Services

West Sussex County Council
up to £85,000 per annum
The Head of Lifelong Services will lead and deliver a new, co-produced, integrated and whole life approach and service working with people... West Sussex
Recuriter: West Sussex County Council

Local Government News

Latest issue - Local Goverrnemnt News

The December issue of Local Government News looks at the consequences a council may face if it is unable to provide statutory services, the launch of Liverpool’s housing company and how councils can best manage roles in local authority companies.

It also has a special section on green building and energy efficiency including what funding is available to enable councils to deliver heat networks and how councils can pay for ‘smart buildings’.

Register for your free magazine