A new survey has found that England and Wales’ local roads maintenance backlog has reached a record high. The findings revealed that £14bn of spending would now be needed to catch up on the backlog, an 11% increase from last year.
The data comes from the latest Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey, which is produced by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA). It provides yearly insights into the funding and condition of the local road network, and the 2023 report has produced multiple damning revelations about the state of England and Wales’ highways.
The shortfall between current funding and the amount required to prevent further decline has hit £1.3bn – a rise of 20%. Similarly, local authorities claim they only received roughly two-thirds of the funding they needed to meet their road maintenance targets.
Highway departments say it will now take over a decade to get the nation’s roads back into a reasonable state. However, this would only be achieved with sufficient funding and resources. Shockingly, it also revealed that roads are only resurfaced an average of once every 116 years.
Rick Green, chair of the AIA, says that change has to come: “Without a change to the funding structure and the amount allocated, local road conditions can’t – and won’t – improve.
“The local roads are in an absolutely shocking condition and they are getting worse. They are getting close to really problematic conditions and hopefully, politicians will decide to allocate more funding to local roads.
“If we can’t have more money, some ring-fencing would definitely be a better solution as well as a longer-term settlement for the spending. So, if we don’t have more money at least we know what we have so we can plan it better.”