Fleet News

Anger as councils divert roads cash

THE safety of company car drivers is being jeopardised as Government cash allocated for road maintenance is diverted to other departments, claims a report by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA).

The AIA is now calling on newly-elected local councillors to ensure funds provided by the Government are spent properly. Chairman Jim Crick said: 'Frustrated local authority engineers are seeing funds allocated to roads by the Government being diverted by local councils to anything but our roads.'

The study, which is based on information supplied by more than half of UK local councils, found that 91% of motorway engineers believe the under-funding of road maintenance affects safety levels.

As local councils are responsible for 95% of Britain's roads, more needs to be done to combat the problem, the AIA says. But despite a 7% increase in funding, it believes there still remains a £1.1bn shortfall to improve the state of UK roads.

Crick said: 'We are calling on councillors to listen to the advice of their highways engineers and ensure adequate money is made available for road maintenance and that money provided by central Government for road maintenance is used for that purpose.'

According to the AIA many roads need resurfacing every 10 to 20 years, but current budget restrictions are only enabling this to happen every 76 years, leading to an increase in potholes and cracks. Over the past 10 years there has been a 94% increase in faults on UK roads, a fact that signals neglect, says the AIA.

Crick said: 'We know the Government needs to invest in road maintenance and is providing more resources to local authorities to halt the deterioration in the condition of local roads by next year and eliminate the backlog in road maintenance by 2010. Too often its good intentions are hijacked by local-level budget decisions.'

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