State of Britain's roads a top concern for motorists, says RAC report

State of Britain's roads a top concern for motorists, says RAC report

Almost half of drivers (49%) surveyed in the RAC’s annual Report on Motoring listed the poor state of Britain's roads as their top motoring concern - the highest level in nine years.

Cost of fuel was cited as a top concern by 42% of drivers.

The RAC first started asking drivers for their views on the condition and maintenance of local roads in 2015. The previous high – 46% – was recorded in 2021.

The RAC study also reveals that two-thirds of drivers (67%) say that the condition of the local roads they regularly drive on has deteriorated in the past 12 months, up from 60% in the 2022 report. This year, only 4% think local road conditions have improved over the last 12 months. While problems with road surfaces are overwhelmingly to blame (cited by 97% of drivers), there are several other factors contributing to this decline, including faded road markings (61%), litter (35%) and poor signage visibility (34%).

Where repairs are being carried out to roads of all types, drivers appear to be unimpressed with the quality of the work done: 81% say they do not think roads are resurfaced to a high enough standard, while the same proportion (81%) do not believe roads are resurfaced as often as they should be. The disruption caused by maintenance work is another source of dissatisfaction, with 74% of drivers saying they are frustrated by roadworks taking place on the same road in quick succession and 72% complaining that works frequently overrun.

The 2023 edition of the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA)’s annual report indicates that local councils face significant shortfalls in the funding required to keep road surfaces in a reasonable condition. The latest Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) report, published in March 2023, says that the total amount of money now needed to address the backlog in road maintenance works has increased to more than £14 billion.

RAC head of policy Simon Williams said:

“We have to bring the ongoing deterioration of our local roads to an end by giving councils the certainty of funding they need to be able to plan proper maintenance programmes which include resurfacing roads that have gone beyond point where they can be patched up.

“This is why we continue to call on the Government to ringfence 2p from every litre of existing fuel revenues over a five-year period which will give councils the funds they need to be able to plan proper maintenance programmes.

“We have raised this issue with the Secretary of State for Transport and urged the Chancellor in our Autumn Statement submission to shake up his road funding policy, because as it stands the £26bn collected from drivers is currently just another form of general taxation.

“We believe a change in funding strategy is long overdue, not least because England’s major roads receive seven times what local roads are given, despite the fact there are seven times more miles of minor roads.
“It is plain wrong that drivers who contribute billions in tax every year have to put up with roads that are so far from being fit for purpose.”

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