They say that nearly every journey begins and ends on a local road, yet the very existence of these highways and byways is being put at risk by chronic underfunding and a backlog of carriageway repairs to the tune of £12.64 billion!
This is according to the latest Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey from the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), revealing that although average highway maintenance budgets have increased by four per cent compared to last year, the amount that is being invested in local roads is down… and the backlog of repairs is up by 23 per cent.
Other findings from the survey include the fact that one pothole is filled every 19 seconds, almost one in five local roads could have to be rebuilt in the next five years and roads are only resurfaced on average once every 70 years.
Rick Green, chair of the AIA, said: “Although surface repairs have a part to play in extending the life of local roads, short-term fixes, including filling potholes, is indicative of a network that is ‘on the edge’ and less efficient and sustainable when it comes to materials usage and whole-life carbon emissions.”
He went on to note that, while local authorities are legally obliged to keep the roads safe, they do not have sufficient funds to achieve this in a cost-effective and proactive way. This, in turn, is leading to a decline in the structure of the roads.
Meanwhile, the UK Roads Liaison Group has also published research relating to the state of the roads, finding that investment in local roads could yield a range of different benefits, everything from reducing pollution and helping the shift towards net zero to supporting economic growth, boosting biodiversity and supporting accessibility and inclusion.
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