Is it right that the Government spends 43 times more per mile on national roads ​than ​local roads?​

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Do our county councillors realise how many holiday dramas occurred – thanks to potholes ?

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Money councils have been forced to cut from road maintenance funding since 2010 could have paid for the repair of nearly 8 million potholes, analysis by the Local Government Association has revealed.

At the LGA’s Annual Conference in Bournemouth, town hall leaders are calling on the Government to use this year’s Spending Review to deliver a long-term funding plan “to save our roads”.

Latest figures show that the amount of money councils have been able to spend on routine road maintenance has fallen from £1.1 billion in 2009/10 to around £701 million in 2017/18 – a 37 per cent reduction.

Routine road maintenance includes minor road repairs such as potholes, cleaning drains, inspection and fixing street lighting.

The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, estimates that this reduction could have covered the cost of repairing 7.8 million potholes.

With councils having lost 60p out of every £1 in central government funding between 2010 and 2020, services such as road maintenance have had to be stripped back to pay for an ongoing surge in demand for children’s services, adult social care support and homelessness support.

Councils are presently fixing a pothole every 17 seconds but it will still take more than £9 billion and a decade to tackle our road repairs backlog. A review is now urgently needed to make long-term improvements on our dilapidated roads.

The LGA’s Transport spokesman, Cllr Martin Tett, said:

“Potholes can be the bane of the motorist’s life. They can damage vehicles and cause accidents.

“Councils are on the side of the motorist and are doing all they can to keep our roads safe and resilient, repairing potholes as quickly as they can.

“But unprecedented funding cuts have meant councils are increasingly limited in how much they can invest in looking after our country’s roads.

“It is not right that the Government spends 43 times per mile more on maintaining our national roads – which make up just 3 per cent of all roads – than on local roads, which are controlled by councils and make up 97 per cent of England’s road network.

“While the extra one-off funding announced in recent years has helped, we need the government to follow with a long-term funding plan to save our roads in the Spending Review.”

Councils spent £1,113,694,000 on environmental, safety and routine maintenance of principle and other LA roads in 2009/10

They spent £701,429,000 in 2017/18

This amounts to a £412,265,000 reduction, which could cover the cost of paying for 7.8 million pothole repairs, based on an average pothole repair cost of £53.

2. Estimated average pothole repair costs

3. ALARM survey key facts – councils fixing a pothole every 17 seconds

4. The LGA’s #CouncilsCan campaign aims to influence the forthcoming Spending Review and highlight the growing risk to vital local services if the Government does not take action to secure the financial sustainability of councils. Visit our campaign page for more information.


4 thoughts on “Is it right that the Government spends 43 times more per mile on national roads ​than ​local roads?​”

  1. Don’t we know it.. Just driving back from Sidney Woods this afternoon had to avoid at least 5 Potholes on Dunsfold Road which if you cannot swerve over the other side – really do rock the car. I have a 4 x 4. It is the cyclists and Motor bikes I feel sorriest for. Will it have to take a fatality for Government to do anything about it?

    1. We may be wrong, but isn’t Dunsfold Road the very same road that the Wings Museum wants to relocate too? Apparently there is an appeal lodged. Will post on it so that everyone can have the appeal reference.

      Nothing like putting thousands more cars on our roads.

  2. Anyone who lives in Surrey gets the impression that all local roads in the country could do with some extra TLC. From what I can tell this isn’t the case at all. If you take a trip into Hampshire or Sussex you will find all roads are in a much better condition. It’s the same story in the North, the West, etc.

    Surrey highways are to blame. I find it hard to believe that Surrey somehow gets less money for it’s roads than hampshire does. Of course all councils could do with some extra cash but why are Surrey’s roads so much worse than others!

  3. True. Some of our team have been travelling around the country on their hols, and have been quite surprised how good the roads are. Partiularly in Sussex and Hampshire, counties that deal with more than their fair share of heavy traffic.

    Is it all to do with money – or how you use it? We have watched workmen lobbing lumps of tarmac into holes, leaving a lumpy mess, and then someone coming along with tar and chippings. Weeks/months later… out come the lumps and back come the potholes. Daft or what?

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