“Harsh winter deepens pothole crisis for struggling councils”

“Councils are losing the battle against potholes, it is claimed today as the number of cars damaged by crumbling roads has reached a three-year high.

Figures from the RAC show that 4,091 call-outs were made over three months for damage commonly attributed to poor road surfaces including damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension and distorted wheels. The statistics, recorded between April and June, were the highest for the three-month period since 2015.

The RAC warned that local roads had been left in a terrible condition by freezing weather at the start of the year when the “Beast from the East” struck. Critics claimed that roads were already in a poor state because of years of underfunding and a backlog of repairs. The Asphalt Industry Alliance claimed in April that £9.3 billion was needed to bring all roads up to scratch.

The government is investing about £1 billion a year in local roads and said recently that another £100 million was being spent to repair routes affected by the severe winter weather.

The RAC has called for 2p a litre to be invested from fuel duty into local roads, in addition to existing budgets, saying that over a ten-year period it would give councils the money needed to “eliminate the backlog in repairs and preventative maintenance”.

David Bizley, the RAC’s chief engineer, said: “Councils have been working hard to fix potholes and general road surface degradation but despite further emergency funding from central government their budgets are even more stretched than in previous years.

“Our figures demonstrate they are not winning the battle and as a result the safety of too many drivers, cyclists and motorcyclists is being put at risk.”

He added: “Central government must now consider how we can develop a long-term plan to improve the condition of our local roads. We urge the Department for Transport to work with the Treasury to ring-fence a proportion of fuel duty receipts over a sustained period to fund this.”

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said that councils were being given more than £6 billion over six years for local roads. “This funding includes a record £296 million through the pothole action fund: enough to fix around six million potholes,” she said.”

Source: Times, pay wall

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