Local authorities increase spending on road repairs

Majority of councils increased levels of spending last year on the resurfacing of roadways and the repair of potholes.

An IAM Freedom of Information (FOI) request has found that many county councils across England appear to have responded to criticisms about failing to make pothole repair and road maintenance a top priority with increased spending across the country.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) in the UK found that councils are following government-stated best practice and increasingly investing more money into capital projects, such as road rebuilding, rather than spending funds on short-term temporary repairs.

In early 2015 the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) confirmed the backlog of repairs topped £12 billion, while an IAM survey found that 64% of participants cited general road maintenance as one of their biggest concerns.

The FOI request asked county councils how much they spent on fixing road surface defects such as potholes and how much they spent on capital projects to resurface roads between 2013 and 2015.

While the IAM’s findings reveal many councils are spending less on filling potholes, 17 out of 23 of them are in fact spending more overall on resurfacing worn-out roads.

The top five county councils to invest the most money into road repairs and resurfacing between 2014/15 include Surrey at £44 million followed by North Yorkshire, Cumbria, Devon and Lincolnshire. Other counties made large percentage increases in spending such as Oxfordshire (139%) and Cambridgeshire (85%).

The local authorities that spend the most money on repairing pot holes were Kent at £7.7 million followed by Devon, Gloucestershire, Cumbria and Surrey. However, 8 out of 21 councils are spending less on filling potholes.

Sarah Sillars, IAM chief executive officer, said: “We are very pleased that our calls for greater investment in local roads appear to be having some effect and we hope this trend continues. With council tax increases this April, we very much hope councils will use some of the extra money in continued investment in their own vital local roads, the condition of which has a direct impact on road safety.”

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Road Construction

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