A report from the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) has highlighted the problem Great Britain has with potholes on its roads, which are becoming more difficult to fix.
The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey (ALARM) – the 23rd edition of the report – gives a flavour of the general condition of the local road network.
It reveals that local authorities have identified in excess of 24,000 miles of road that will need essential maintenance in the next year.
This is a worry for all road users, and we have already seen the detrimental effect that poor-conditioned road networks can have on the highways after the Road Haulage Association called for greater investment to fix the numerous potholes that can be found throughout Great Britain.
The AIA’s report reveals the major problem with maintaining the road network: the annual shortfall in the budget to fix Britain’s carriageways. In the 2018 report, this is at £555.7 million, which illustrates the constraints that councils face in the fight to maintain the road network to a standard fit for motorists and businesses.
The shortfall in annual carriageway maintenance budget per local authority is £3.3 million, and the time estimated to clear the backlog of maintenance has increased to 14 years.
With the poor weather in the first quarter of the year, this problem is only set to get worse, as snow and ice tend to loosen the carriageways.
The average highway maintenance budget per authority went up from last year’s report to £20.6 million, and the average carriageway maintenance budget also rose. However, the percentage of highway maintenance budget spent on the carriageways has decreased. The AIA report highlights that the percentage of local authority budget is decreasing at a time it ought to be on the rise.
Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, said: “It’s time for some fresh thinking when it comes to finally getting on top of Britain’s pothole problem. Short term funding and creating pots by which local authorities can bid for cash doesn’t appear to be addressing the root cause of the problem.
“Instead, the government should be looking at how it can guarantee councils the certainty of reliable long term funding so they can finally bring every road up to a standard road users think is acceptable.”