MPs call for five-year plan to cure ‘plague of potholes’
July 02, 2019 – Transport Committee MPs have called for a front-loaded, five-year funding settlement to tackle the extreme state of disrepair of the English local road network.
MPs have slammed the feast and famine funding approach to retrospectively tackle potholes rather than introducing properly funded planned proactive maintenance.
The call for a rethink on funding has been supported by civil engineering contractors who warned funding pots are being plundered to fund core local authority services.
The Committee’s report, ‘Local roads funding and maintenance: filling the gap’, noted that local government revenue funding had fallen by about 25% since 2010.
A lack of funding certainty has caused many councils to take short-term, reactive decisions on road maintenance, which is less effective than proactive maintenance and undermines local economic performance.
To tackle this, the Committee recommends that the Department for Transport work with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to propose a front-loaded, long-term funding settlement to the Treasury as part of the forthcoming Spending Review.
Chair of the Transport Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, said: “Local authorities are in the invidious position of having to rob Peter to pay Paul.
“Cash-strapped councils are raiding their highways and transport budgets to fund core services.
“Now is the time for the Department to propose a front-loaded, long-term funding settlement to the Treasury as part of the forthcoming Spending Review.
“Almost every journey begins and ends on local roads: the DfT must work with the public and local authorities to make them safe.”
CECA Director of External Affairs, Marie-Claude Hemming said: “CECA has long argued for greater investment in our local roads network, to bring these roads to the same standard as our Strategic Roads.
“Proactive maintenance provides better value for money than reactive maintenance. This recommendation has the potential to deliver real change to our local roads network.
“In order for this to happen, government must work in close consultation with local authorities and industry to ensure absolute success of any policy change.”