The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that the local road maintenance budget for 2021/22 has been cut by £400million. In terms of road repairs, this means that over 9.5 million potholes could go unfixed or unprevented.
Local councils have always viewed repairing potholes as a priority, and despite problems caused by the pandemic, potholes were still being fixed at a rate of one every 19 seconds.
Now, the LGA is putting pressure on the Government to reinstate the budget in their upcoming spending review. Rather than meeting their usual annual budget target, the LGA feels it should include an additional £500 million each year.
Cllr David Renard, the transport spokesperson for the LGA, said: “Councils are working hard to keep our roads safe and resilient, repairing potholes as quickly as they can. However, it would already take £10bn and more than a decade to clear the current local roads repair backlog, with the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent cancellation of key planned works risking extending this backlog further.
“With long-term and consistent investment in local road maintenance in the Spending Review, councils can embark on the widespread improvement of our roads that is desperately needed, to the benefit of all road users up and down the country, including cyclists.”
The result of global supply issues means that there has been a significant increase in the cost of road maintenance and highways construction. The LGA is urging that inflation rates be taken into account in future funding allocations.