Poor road repairs 'cost taxpayer'

Botched road repairs are costing taxpayers £70 million a year, according to the Local Government Association (LGA).

It said contractors hired by utility firms often failed to fully repair road surfaces after digging them up to carry out repairs, leaving councils to pick up the bill.

Some 360,000 out of two million holes dug by workmen across England and Wales last year were not fully completed, with many roads not repaired to their original condition following the work, the body said.

The LGA, which represents about 350 councils in England and Wales, is calling for councils to be given stronger powers to ensure roadworks are timed to cause the minimum disruption to motorists, and to guarantee roads are repaired properly once work has finished

Councillor Peter Box, chairman of the LGA's economy and transport board, said: "Contractors should not be allowed to get away with botching road repairs and then leaving council taxpayers to foot the bill.

"Roadworks are a pet hate of all motorists. Many would no doubt be surprised to learn that most road closures don't even result in the condition of roads improving and many actually make them worse."

He went on: "Councils face the joint challenge of managing the toughest spending cuts in living memory and tackling a £10.5 billion backlog in road maintenance.

"It is only right that companies which drill and dig up our roads pay their fair share towards fixing the damage."

RAC spokesman John Franklin said: "At a time when the general state of the roads is a major concern for motorists, utility companies do have a responsibility to make sure roads are repaired to a decent standard.

"Badly-repaired roads will only create further problems down the line, creating a never-ending cycle of patch and repair."

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