Funding for almost 10 million pothole repairs lost this year

The Local Government Association has said that over 9.5 million potholes could be repaired or prevented by councils with the funding lost from local road maintenance budgets this year.

Capital funding allocated to councils for local road maintenance in 2021/22 by the Department for Transport is £1.39 billion – a reduction of £400 million from the previous year.

In order to allow councils to try and tackle the £10 billion backlog of local road repairs, the LGA said that the government should use the Spending Review to plug this year’s £400 million gap and commit to an additional £500 million per year to councils for road repairs. This would bring the total annual local roads maintenance budget to £1.8 billion.

The cost of construction has also increased significantly, reflecting global supply problems. Future capital allocations should take into account the significant inflation rates in highways construction and maintenance costs.

David Renard, Transport spokesperson for the LGA, said: “The ability of councils to improve local transport connectivity and infrastructure, including upgrades to local bus, road and cycle infrastructure, is critical to government ambitions to level up the country, reduce carbon emissions from transport, and support our long-term economic recovery from the pandemic.

“Councils are working hard to keep our roads safe and resilient, repairing potholes as quickly as they can. However, it would already take £10 billion and more than a decade to clear the current local roads repair backlog, with the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent cancellation of key planned works risking extending this backlog further.

“With long-term and consistent investment in local road maintenance in the Spending Review, councils can embark on the widespread improvement of our roads that is desperately needed, to the benefit of all road users up and down the country, including cyclists.”

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