Road funding drop could pay for 9.5m pothole repairs

Analysis by the Local Government Association has shown that councils could repair more than 9.5 million extra potholes with the funding lost from local road maintenance budgets this year.

Overall capital funding allocated to councils for local road maintenance this year by the Department for Transport is £1.39 billion, which is a drop from £1.78 billion in 2020/21, representing a £400 million (22 per cent) reduction on the year before.

With the average cost of repairing a pothole being just over £40, council leaders say that this is enough to carry out more than 9.5 million road repairs – the equivalent to 64,000 repairs in each local council area.

The government’s £2.5 billion Pothole Repair Fund - announced in the Budget - will help councils to do more to maintain our roads this year and will go a long way to help tackling our local road repairs backlog. However, the LGA is urging the government to also restore this highways maintenance funding so councils can continue to keep roads well maintained and address the almost £11 billion backlog in local road repairs.

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 and support our long-term economic recovery from the pandemic.

“Councils are on the side of motorists, and are working hard to keep our roads safe and resilient, repairing potholes as quickly as they can. However, it would take £11 billion and more than a decade for councils to clear the current local roads repair backlog, with the cancellation of important planned works risking extending this backlog further.

“With long-term and consistent investment in local road maintenance, councils can help government by embarking 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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