New research has revealed that 85% of county councils are looking to reduce road maintenance work next year, citing funding issues as the primary reason.
Spending will be cut on the likes of road repairs, pothole filling and the construction of new networks and junctions. Meanwhile, plans for some major projects will also be either reviewed or scrapped.
According to the County Councils Network (CNN), the 36 councils in county areas will spend an average of £26,000 per mile on such works next year. It said that government funding for road maintenance fell by £300m between 2020-21 and 2021-22, and is set to be frozen at this level for the remaining two years of parliament.
This is despite the fact that the government pledged an additional £500m for road improvements each year of this parliament. The CNN is now calling on the chancellor to provide this £500m investment in the March Budget, but a recent Daily Mail report suggests that only £200m will be announced.
Cllr Tim Oliver, chairman of the CCN and leader of Surrey County Council, said: “We know that the state of roads and congestion are two of the biggest issues for local residents, which is why councils in county areas have put forward ambitious highways resurfacing and major improvement works, but we are in a very different reality to when many of those plans were signed off.
“With inflation running at over 9% for close to a year, the sums committed for these projects no longer stretch as far as they could, leading to difficult decisions on road improvements.”