Public fed up with piecemeal road repairs
Rui Vieira/PA WIRE
Public satisfaction with the condition of Britain's roads is at its lowest level since 2008, MPs have warned, as the Department for Transport comes in for criticism over its fighting-fires approach to highway maintenance.
Road maintenance budgets have been slashed by £1.2bn since 2011, though £1.1bn has been spent on additional funding to repair flood and winter damaged roads, according to the Public Accounts Committee.
"The department's unpredictable and fluctuating budgets for road maintenance over decades have put value for money at risk", said committee chairman Labour MP Margaret Hodge, the BBC reports.
Compounding the problem was the cost of compensation claims resulting from damage caused by potholes. In 2013-14 this totalled £31.6million. In contrast, a pothole costs around £52 to repair.
The Department for Transport defended its strategy, saying it was "absolutely committed to tackling potholes on local roads."
"We have committed to spending £24bn on our strategic road network up to 2021 - the biggest investment in our roads since the 1970s - and we are reforming roads funding so that it is stable and guaranteed," a DfT spokesman told the BBC.
He continued by saying the department would make no apology for making available additional funds for emergency repairs due to extreme weather events.
The AA has called for more stable finance for UK roads, describing funding as a "lottery".
"Road maintenance funding remains a lottery, and it almost seems we need bad winters to further ruin our roads so we get an emergency cash hand out for local authorities, rather than the long term stable finance which is desperately needed," said Paul Watters, AA head of public affairs.
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