Pothole damaged roads cause traffic delays, cost motorists costly repairs to their vehicles and risk road safety for all of us. The latest statistics show that Britain is suffering a pothole epidemic, with a third of local roads in urgent need of attention. Public anger with the problem has reached record levels and this year the first ever National Pothole Day has been held to raise awareness of the problem.
Everyone knows it is cheaper to plan road maintenance rather than patch up damage following floods, ice or storms. Yet this Government cut roads maintenance budgets by billions in 2010 and have just been turning the funding tap on and off ever since. Combined with slashed local authority budgets this has left councils struggling to fix the battered roads and prevent further disrepair.
Since 2010 an additional 2,000 more miles of local roads require maintenance work. That’s further than going from Land’s End to John o’Groats and back again. However Ministers just don't seem to care that our roads are in a worse state of repair than ever before. They claim to be making a “huge investment” in local roads.
They are misleading people about pothole money. The reality is that real terms funding will be millions of pounds less in 2020 than in 2010. The Government have no real long-term plan for roads repair. They seem more bothered about a top-down reorganisation of the Highways Agency, which looks after just 2% of UK roads (our motorways and ‘A roads’), than fixing the local roads that people rely on every day.
It is clear that people are fed up with the declining condition of our roads and are starting to take the problem into their own hands. The new Street Repairs App will help people to report pothole problems and help the council to fix them.
We need to prioritise funding for roads repair and work with councils on a long-term plan to prevent disrepair in the future.