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Road funding cutbacks could have paid for 8 million pothole repairs, says LGA

The money that councils have been forced to cut from road maintenance funding since 2010 could have paid for the repair of nearly eight million potholes, according to analysis by the Local Government Association.

RAC patrols dealt with more pothole-related breakdowns between April and June than in any other second quarter since 2015

Research this year found that eliminating the pothole backlog in England and Wales would cost £9.8bn and take a decade to complete

Announced as the LGA urges the Government to use this year’s Spending Review to deliver a long-term funding plan “to save our roads”, the figures figures show the amount of money councils have been able to spend on routine road maintenance has fallen from £1.1 billion in 2009/10 to around £701m in 2017/18 – a 37% reduction.

Routine road maintenance includes minor road repairs such as potholes, cleaning drains, inspection and fixing street lighting.

The LGA, which represents councils in England and Wales, estimates that this reduction could have covered the cost of repairing 7.8 million potholes.

Although councils are fixing a pothole every 17 seconds, it will still take more than £9bn and a decade to tackle our road repairs backlog, and the LGA says adequate government investment in the Spending Review is needed to make long-term improvements on our dilapidated roads.

The LGA’s Transport spokesman, Cllr Martin Tett, said: “It is not right that the Government spends 43 times per mile more on maintaining our national roads – which make up just 3% of all roads – than on local roads, which are controlled by councils and make up 97% of England’s road network.

“While the extra one-off funding announced in recent years has helped, we need government to follow with a long-term funding plan to save our roads in the Spending Review.”

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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.