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Growing cap between conditions on England’s local roads

Conditions on local authority-managed ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ roads in England have gradually improved over the last decade, while unclassified roads have declined.

Research by the AA found that 62% of English authorities had cut their highways and transport budgets for 2017/18.

Research by the AA found that 62% of English authorities had cut their highways and transport budgets for 2017/18.

Latest Department for Transport statistics on road conditions show that the proportion of roads that should have been considered for maintenance has improved for A, B and C roads over the last decade and for the last five years. By contrast, unclassified roads have not seen the same improvement over these periods.

Research last year by the AA found that three out of five (62%) of English authorities had cut their highways and transport budgets for the 2017/18 fiscal year compared with 2016/17 –  with the average budget down from £12.1m to £11.6m.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “While spend on maintaining and improving the road surface on motorways and A-roads has increased, spend on local roads has decreased again.

“Most journeys start and end on local roads, so while there is an argument to keep the fastest roads in good condition, we should not be neglecting local streets.

“Cost-cutting on UK roads has already contributed to 11 people losing their lives with the switching off of street lights. Potholes have contributed towards at least three cyclists lives. A systemic downgrading of inspection and repair standards for potholes introduces a new level of potential lethality.

“If the Government and local authorities want drivers to leave their cars at home and cycle to work and on short journeys, allowing roads to become more treacherous for two-wheelers is not the way to do it.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.