Taxpayers pay for shoddy repairs

Taxpayers pay for shoddy repairs

Substandard road repairs made after utilitiy companies dig up roads to carry out projects have cost the taxpayer £435 million in the last 24 months, the Local Government Association (LGA) reports.

LGA research revealed that 20% of road works carried out by contractors that resurface trenches were "not up to standard", which resulted in councils having to pay for the work to be redone. The expense to councils due to this problem rose by 3% in 2012.

The LGA said £435 million could repair about eight million potholes.

A new taskforce is aiming to reduce the expense and disruptiveness that roadworks cause. It will bring together utilities, representatives from businesses and councils.

One of the taskforce's objectives will be to find methods for improving communication between businesses and contractors and to aid traders whose business is impacted by roadworks seek compensation, the LGA says.

The chairman of the LGA's economy and transport board, Peter Box, said it was his hope the new effort would keep the disruptions and frustrations of drivers and businesses at a minimum.

"Most roadworks are essential and in many cases carried out efficiently and to a good standard. However, all too often the rush to get on to the next job leaves in its wake patches of shoddy resurfacing," Mr Box said.

"Not only is the taxpayer left to foot the bill to do the resurfacing properly, it means needless frustration for motorists and thousands of pounds in lost trade for small businesses."

The LGA's findings are based on abreakdown of statistics released by the Asphalt Industry Alliance's Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance polls, which are conducted by highways departments.

Copyright Press Association 2013