Warning over falling Scottish roads investment

Warning over falling Scottish roads investment
Further action is needed to maintain Scotland’s road network, according to a new report which suggests overall expenditure has fallen.

At present, only 63% of the country’s local council-maintained roads are deemed by Audit Scotland to be in an acceptable condition.

The group says that while road maintenance spending has gone up across 13 local authorities, overall expenditure has actually declined by 14% since 2011/12. The figure fell from £302 million to a level of £259 million in 2014/15.

The body’s report added that the amount spent by councils on maintenance during the 2014/15 period was £33 million lower compared to the amount actually required.

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Over the last few years, the proportion of trunk roads deemed acceptable has also dropped from 90% to 87%, the study revealed. These roads are overseen by Transport Scotland.

The figures come after recent RAC research revealed that drivers are more likely to experience a pothole-related breakdown north of the border than in other parts of the UK.

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It found that in cases where poor road surfaces are likely to be a contributory factor to vehicle breakdowns, Scotland has recorded the highest UK proportion in 39 of the last 42 quarters dating back to 2006.

Responding to the new Audit Scotland report, RAC roads policy spokesman Nick Lyes said more than half (57%) of road users now feel that road conditions are a major source of concern.

He added: “The RAC’s latest Report on Motoring revealed that for almost one in five Scottish motorists (19%), the state of local roads was their number one concern – the joint highest in the UK.

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“The RAC has also revealed this week that pothole-related breakdowns in Scotland are higher than anywhere else in the UK, an indication that road surfaces continue to be a major problem. Poorly maintained roads can result in expensive repair bills for motorists and businesses, and can be detrimental to economic growth.

“This report makes a number of sensible recommendations for roads authorities, however the poor condition of Scottish roads is a matter of national importance. We therefore urge the Scottish Government to consider creating a designated roads fund to provide councils funding over a long-term period to assist them in planning their road maintenance programmes more effectively, rather than relying on cheaper options that in the long term prove to be a false economy.”

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.