Local road spending hits decade low

A new report published by the RAC has found capital spending on local roads in England to be at its lowest level for over a decade. 

‘The Condition of England’s Local Roads and how they are Funded’ was authored by RAC Foundation trustee David Bayliss and found that in the last two years only £1.8 billion has been spent annually on road renewals and improvement, the lowest figure since 2001-2.

The majority of money councils receive to spend on capital works is supplied by the Department for Transport in the form of the Highways Maintenance Block Grant. The report claims this spend has fallen by 18 per cent in real terms. 

English councils are responsible for maintaining 186,000 miles of local highways, 90 per cent of which are minor roads. Bayliss includes evidence which suggests that 18 per cent minor English roads are in need of maintenance, four times more than motorways and major A roads. 

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “What this work tries to do is unravel where money for highways maintenance comes from and where it is spent. The conclusions are worrying. Not only have there been big cuts in council budgets in recent times, there has also been uncertainty over what money will be available in the future.”