Budget boost for UK’s pothole epidemic

Budget boost for UK’s pothole epidemic
Local authorities are set to get a £420 million cash injection to help tackle the UK’s growing pothole epidemic. 

The funding boost, unveiled in the Autumn Budget, forms part of a £30 billion investment that Chancellor Phillip Hammond called the “biggest-ever single cash investment” in the UK’s transport network.

The RAC welcomed the move as “good news” for motorists, but warned that a long-term strategy is needed to address the backlog of maintenance on the country’s local road network

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Experts at the Asphalt Industry Alliance have said that a one-time fix for the nation’s potholes would cost an estimated £8 billion, underlining the scale of the problem. 

While potholes are a common menace for UK motorists, the condition of the country’s roads has deteriorated particularly badly this year, due to the harsh cold weather in the first few months of 2018. 

READ MORE: The RAC Guide to the Great British Pothole and Other Road Surface Defects

Earlier this year, RAC figures found that between April and June over 4,000 breakdowns were due to damage caused by potholes, the highest equivalent figure for over three years. 

RAC chief engineer David Bizley called for more to be done to eliminate the backlog in preventative maintenance, that has led to so many potholes appearing on local roads in periods of bad weather. 

He said: “Local roads are vitally important as almost all journeys start and finish on them and they, in turn, provide links to and from motorways, dual carriageway and major A-roads – keeping the country and our economy moving.”

SEE ALSO: How to report a pothole and claim for damage

Alongside the extra money for pothole maintenance, the Budget includes £25.5 billion for Highways England to carry out upgrades to major roads between 2020 and 2025. 

This investment will be largely funded by vehicle excise duty — the first time that the tax has been “ring-fenced” for use on the roads since former Chancellor George Osbourne pledged to do so in 2015. 

Mr Bizley said: “The Government made a commitment three years ago to ring-fence all the money collected from vehicle tax from 2020/21 to maintain and improve our most important roads. 

“It is good to see the Chancellor delivering on this promise and it is clearly a big step in the right direction.”

Copyright Press Association 2018. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated

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