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LGA warns of dangerous condition of roads

Britain’s local road network could become unusable if the country sees more flooding or severe winter weather, the LGA has warned. It has written to chief secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, urging the Government to provide greater capital funding for road maintenance.

The backlog of repairs is growing longer, and is estimated to cost £10.5bn, undermining the economic recovery. One in five roads are classed as in ‘poor’ condition due to freezing weather and recent flooding.

Cllr Peter Box, chair of the LGA’s Economy and Transport Board, said: “The case for proper funding to resurface our roads is a no-brainer. The short-termist approach of successive governments of underfunding local road maintenance, coupled with severe weather over recent years, has taken its toll. Now we’re facing unprecedented budget cuts things are only getting worse, something plain for all drivers to see.

“Despite their best efforts many councils are trapped in a false economy of reactive repairs while managing a spiralling compensation bill, all the time praying it doesn’t flood or freeze. Government cutting funding for roads is a very high risk strategy as the longer you keep simply patching up a deteriorating surface the more vulnerable it becomes to severe weather. Unless something changes we risk swathes of Britain’s road network becoming dangerously strewn with potholes or collapsing completely.

“Councils need increased and consistent funding to invest in the widespread resurfacing projects which our network desperately needs if we’re to see a long-term improvement. Notions that this can be paid for by council efficiency savings and smarter use of money are deeply unrealistic. We know we’re in very tough economic times, but there are several potential sources of funding government could explore.

“Redirecting funding into road resurfacing would also offer an instant boost to growth. Thousands of jobs in the construction and supply sector would be created immediately and there would be many mid-term economic benefits by reducing the cost to business caused by the current state of many roads.”

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