New strategy could provide £418m boost for local road improvements

Updated: 

Pothole repairs and other local road improvements could be given a £400 million boost if Government funding mirrored rising income from fuel and motoring taxes, research shows.

The "radical new strategy" would help support the almost 30% increase in the number of vehicles on Britain's roads since 2000, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

The organisation, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, wants the Government to match the increase in fuel and motoring tax income generated in the past 10 years in its funding for town halls.

This would mean an extra £418 million to improve local roads by fixing potholes, cutting congestion and protecting bus services, encouraging residents to use alternative transport where possible.

How a pothole forms
(PA graphic)

The annual road maintenance survey by the Asphalt Industry Alliance found that local authorities in England and Wales need more than £12 billion of funding to bring the road network up to scratch.

This is several times more than councils' entire annual revenue spending on highways and transport, which was £4.4 billion in England last year.

In July, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling unveiled plans to give English councils access to a multibillion-pound fund for local road schemes.

Local authorities need over £12 billion to bring their roads up to scratch #ALARMsurvey2017. Read the full report at https://t.co/kEhgpZr3QZpic.twitter.com/HDdUmksF0F

-- AIA (@AIA_Asphalt) March 28, 2017

But the LGA wants the Government to be more ambitious to ensure a predicted increase in traffic of up to 55% by 2040 can be handled.

LGA transport spokesman Martin Tett said: "With 8.5 million more vehicles on our roads since 2000, it's no wonder our local roads are facing a growing congestion crunch and it would now take £12 billion and a decade to clear the nation's road repair backlog.

"Councils are doing all they can to provide their communities with the transport services they need, to manage and ensure that roads are as free-flowing as possible.

"The Government needs to develop a fully funded plan to help councils deliver the desperately needed local road improvements we need. This should include matching the extra growth in tax take with the funding it provides councils."