More misery for motorists as spending on filling car-wrecking potholes in roads is slashed
- Research shows annual highway maintenance funding has been cut by £400m
- In some areas of England as many as one in four minor roads needs repairing
- Region with highest proportion of roads in need of repair is the East Midlands
- Annual funding is set to remain at the lower level for the next three years
Motorists are in for a bumpy ride over the next few years as essential spending on filling potholes is slashed.
Research shows annual funding for highway maintenance has already been cut by £400million in the past year, while in some areas of England as many as one in four minor roads needs repairing.
With budgets frozen as inflation soars, it means a real-terms fall of almost 10 per cent within a few years.
The official data is revealed today as cold and wet weather this winter threatens to make driving conditions even more treacherous for motorists.
Research shows annual funding for highway maintenance has already been cut by £400million in the past year
The region with the highest proportion of roads in need of repair is the East Midlands with 6 per cent of A roads and 9 per cent of B and C
The Lib Dems commissioned research from the House of Commons Library into total highway maintenance funding for England.
It revealed that the figure stood at £1.78billion in 2020-21 but had fallen to £1.38billion by the financial year that ended in April, a drop of £400million or 22 per cent. Annual funding is set to remain at the lower level for the next three years, which at current inflation forecasts will amount to a real-terms cut of 9.4 per cent – £130million – by 2025-26.
Overall, 4 per cent of A roads and 6 per cent of B and C roads across England are in need of repair, the Commons analysis found.
Last night, the Lib Dems’ transport spokesman Wera Hobhouse said: ‘The job of repairing our roads is being made so much harder by these short-sighted funding cuts. People are plagued by potholes on their roads and won’t be happy that the Government has no plans to invest or fix the problem. Communities and people will become further isolated and the misery inflicted by failing to fix the country’s roads will leave our economy grinding to a halt.’ Motorists face a pothole lottery as some areas are in a far worse condition than others.
In Southend-on-Sea, Essex, a staggering 27 per cent of minor roads need maintenance, as do 25 per cent of those in Derbyshire.
More than one in ten B and C roads in counties ranging from Devon to Cumbria are in a bad state. Even 23 per cent of A roads in the London borough of Lambeth need fixing, the highest proportion in the country.
The region with the highest proportion of roads in need of repair is the East Midlands with 6 per cent of A roads and 9 per cent of B and C. By contrast, only 2 per cent of A roads and 4 per cent of minor roads in the North East are earmarked for maintenance.
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: ‘We are investing more than £5billion from 2020 to 2025 into local highways maintenance – including the Potholes Fund announced at the 2020 Budget,’ adding the funds will fill ‘millions of potholes a year’.
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