Councils 'have not repaired roads'

A majority of roads affected by last year's harsh winter have still not been repaired, a survey found.

According to RAC, 10 out of 11 rural councils and a majority of the nine urban councils surveyed had not carried out road repairs, making it more difficult for motorists to deal with the possible severe weather conditions this year.

Many who took part in the England, Wales and Scotland-wide poll expressed their concern over the Government's proposed spending cuts and how they will affect roads.

A number of councils also said they were experiencing financial deficits due to road repairs last year, with individual shortfalls of up to £10 million.

An English rural council spokesperson said: "Two severe winters in a row have taken a severe toll on our highway network with record numbers of potholes reported and highway maintenance increasingly on the agenda.

"The local highway network will continue to decline, more and more roads will fall into disrepair and reactive costs (potholes) will continue to climb reducing further the resources available for preventative maintenance."

Adrian Tink, motoring strategist, RAC, said: "A recent survey showed that £9.5 billion is needed to bring the roads up to scratch, and that is in England and Wales alone. We are in difficult times, and I appreciate that spending cuts have to be made, but the long-term impact of this could be terrible for the UK's road users, particularly those in rural areas where roads are a lifeline.

"UK motorists pay an annual total of around £49 billion in motoring taxes, yet they face years of potholes and poorly-maintained roads damaging their vehicles and drastically reducing road safety."

A spokeswoman for the Local Government Association, which represents England and Wales councils said: "Councils have responded by fixing a record number of potholes in the past year.

"Councils have consistently argued for greater investment to stop our roads from deteriorating to such an extent, but no-one in town halls up and down the country is naive enough to think that there is a blank cheque available to fund all the road maintenance that councils would like to be able to carry out on behalf of motorists and local residents.

"Local government is arguing for a complete rethink of how funding for maintenance projects is organised, so local areas have maximum flexibility in setting their own priorities and avoid storing up big bills for the future."

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