Councils facing backlog of pothole repairs

06/01/2015
Highways Reporters

Councils across Britain are facing huge backlogs of pothole repairs, according to information obtained by the Press Association.

Freedom of Information requests show that some faced a backlog of up to £100 million to repair roads in their area.

The government recently announced that it will spend £6 billion on tackling potholes and improving local roads between 2015 and 2021.

Information obtained by the Press Association showed that some of the biggest backlog of repairs were in Leeds (between £90 million and £100 million), Gloucestershire (£86 million), Oldham (£60 million), Rochdale (£58 million), Islington in London (£79 million) and Swindon (£40 million).

Other local authorities said they had thousands of potholes to repair, including Plymouth (3,200), Northumberland (6,600) and Derbyshire (1,550).

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said the amount being spent on road maintenance needs to be doubled.

He said: “Recent estimates by the Asphalt Industry Alliance suggest a one-off investment of £12 billion is needed in England to deal with the backlog in road maintenance, the majority of which is associated with those roads for which local authorities are responsible.”

Brian Strutton, national officer of the GMB union, told the Independent: “The announced money is less than half the official estimate of the investment needed to cover the backlog of road repairs, so the public should ask why the government is not doing more.

“In any event, not all councils will benefit from this announcement. The promise of future money may or may not materialise under the next government.

“Meanwhile, existing potholes will crack up when this winter bites, leaving roads in an unfit and dangerous state for motorists.”

Speaking at the time of the government announcement on funding for local roads, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Roads play a significant part in everyday life. Poorly maintained local roads, blighted by potholes, are a menace to all road users, particularly during the festive period as people travel to see family and friends. It is vital we have good quality roads. This government has already taken strong action by spending £1 billion more on local roads maintenance than was spent in the previous parliament.

“The £6 billion funding will put an end to short term fixes and will mean we have committed £10 billion between 2010 and 2021. This huge investment is part of our long term economic plan to ensure we have a transport network fit for the 21st century.”
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