LGA: Road funding drop could pay for 9.5 million pothole repairs

Councils could repair more than 9.5 million extra potholes with the funding lost from local road maintenance budgets this year, analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA) has found.

Overall capital funding allocated to councils for local road maintenance this year by the Department for Transport is £1.39bn, down from £1.78bn in 2020/21, representing a £400m (22%) reduction on the year before.

With the average cost of repairing a pothole being just over £40, the LGA said this is enough to carry out more than 9.5 million road repairs, the equivalent to 64,000 repairs in each council area.

The LGA said that fixing roads is a top priority for councils and despite the Covid-19 pandemic, councils have been working hard to repair roads, fixing a pothole every 19 seconds, as well as supporting an increase in other infrastructure through temporary road measures.

They also said that the government’s £2.5bn Pothole Repair Fund, announced in the Budget, will help councils do more to maintain roads this year and will go a long way to help tackling local road repairs backlog.

The LGA is urging the government to also restore highways maintenance funding so councils can continue to keep roads well maintained and address the almost £11bn backlog in local road repairs.

Commenting, the LGA’s Transport Spokesperson, Councillor David Renard said:

“The ability of councils to improve local transport connectivity and infrastructure, including upgrades to local bus, road and cycle infrastructure, is critical to government ambitions to level up the country and support our long-term economic recovery from the pandemic.

“Councils are on the side of motorists and are working hard to keep our roads safe and resilient, repairing potholes as quickly as they can.

“However, it would take £11bn and more than a decade for councils to clear the current local roads repair backlog, with the cancellation of important planned works risking extending this backlog further.

“With long-term and consistent investment in local road maintenance, councils can help government by embarking on the widespread improvement of our roads that is desperately needed to the benefit of all road users up and down the country, including cyclists.”

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