Commenting on figures from the Department for Transport on the condition of roads in England, RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said:
“These figures chime with the RAC’s Pothole Index data which suggests the overall state of the UK’s roads is not getting any worse – although clearly there some areas of the country where road condition is worsening, perhaps as a result of localised bad weather. It also remains the case that a driver today is twice as likely to suffer a breakdown as a result of a pothole than they were in 2006. This not only raises the spectre of expensive repairs for vehicle owners, but also represents a very real road safety danger for drivers, bikers and cyclists.
“While recent funding announcements, combined with a mild winter, might have stemmed the pothole problem, the reality is that local authorities still lack the certainty of long-term funding to make real improvements to their road networks, and remain unable to shift their maintenance procedures from being reactive to being preventative. We believe the best way to achieve this would be to ring-fence existing funds raised from fuel duty: just two pence per litre collected over five years would raise nearly £5bn, in addition to what is already allocated to councils, and would go some way towards clearing the backlog of potholes that currently plague many parts of the UK.
“The apparent worsening of road conditions on our motorways and major A roads, which are generally much better-funded than roads under council control, is worrying and demands investigation. Research we have conducted also suggests that while road surfaces on these routes continues to be an issue for drivers, they are also becoming increasingly concerned about other issues such as the condition of safety barriers, signage visibility and roadside litter.”