Reacting to the publication this morning of a report by the Transport Committee on potholes, local roads and their funding and governance, RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said:
“We warmly welcome the findings of this report, which recognises the means of funding roads under council control is as broken as many local roads are themselves, and that a new approach is badly needed. While it is good that major roads are seeing significant levels of investment, the same can’t be said for all the others and surely, in 2019 it shouldn’t be the case that a driver can switch from a major A-road to a minor road and see an immediate degradation in surface quality.
“Not putting enough money into fixing the UK’s local roads is a false economy. In doing so, an unnecessary burden is being placed on councils. And then, when roads inevitably fail and need emergency attention, we all end up paying through taxes for short-term repairs that don’t sort out the problem in the long term. So it’s high time local roads were recognised for what they are – a significant piece of national infrastructure that serves a vitally important role in terms of connecting communities and linking people to their workplaces, which ultimately helps drive the economy.
“We look forward to the Government’s response to this report and any action it plans on taking as a result, and we urge it to put forward a five-year investment plan. If just 2p of the existing 58p fuel duty charged on every litre of petrol or diesel sold was ring-fenced, over five years nearly £5bn of additional funds would be raised which would go a long way towards fixing the country’s roads properly as opposed to the current practice of patching up individual potholes.
“Fundamentally, the report reinforces what drivers have been telling us for some time: that too many local roads are in a woeful state. Indeed, last year drivers told us that the state of these roads was their biggest overall motoring concern. Potholed roads can not only land drivers with a hefty repair bill, they also represent a serious safety risk for anyone on two wheels.”