Potholes leave huge hole in budgets

A new study has revealed a £400 million hole in local council road maintenance budgets, after the big freeze caused heavy damage to the roads in the country.

Local councils in England and Wales reported a 40% rise in the number of potholes on roads in 2009-10 due to several weeks of snowfall and wintry temperatures.

According to the survey commissioned by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), as many as four in five local authorities suffered the extra costs at a time when they were already underfunded by a total of £800 million.

Although the local authorities are in need of emergency funding to help meet the burden, about 70% of them said that they do not think they will get it.

The cost of bringing roads in England and Wales up to scratch in 2009/10 shot up to £9.5 billion, a 12% rise on the 2008/09 figure.

At the current rate of funding, councils in England think that a minimum of 11.5 years will be required to catch up on the backlog of repairs, while it could take 15 years to clear the Welsh backlog.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "Depressingly, it's the same old story, with more and more holes to be filled yet no sign of the money being made available to do so. Increasingly, the UK's roads are not fit for purpose."

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