Cuts made to councils’ road maintenance funding since 2010 could have paid for the repair of nearly 8 million potholes, according to the Local Government Association.
The LGA says councils have seen a 37% reduction in available funding to spend on routine road maintenance, falling from £1.1 billion in 2009/10 to around £701 million in 2017/18.
Earlier this month, MPs called for a fund to address the ‘plague of potholes’.
The LGA’s Transport spokesman, Councillor Martin Tett, said: “Potholes can be the bane of the motorist’s life. They can damage vehicles and cause accidents.
“Councils are on the side of the motorist, and are doing all they can to keep our roads safe and resilient, repairing potholes as quickly as they can. But unprecedented funding cuts have meant councils are increasingly limited in how much they can invest in looking after our country’s roads.
“It is not right that the Government spends 43 times per mile more on maintaining our national roads – which make up just 3% of all roads – than on local roads, which are controlled by councils and make up 97% of England’s road network.
“While the extra one-off funding announced in recent years has helped, we need government to follow with a long-term funding plan to save our roads in the Spending Review.”
Commenting on the LGA’s findings, Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: “Arguably, the councils’ largest asset is local roads, and for nearly a decade they have not been looked after properly.
“We have some sympathy with local authorities, continuous cut backs have meant that their priorities have made them focus on social care. But it means the poor state of the roads has led to damaged vehicles and at times serious injuries to those on two wheels.”
In January this year, the Government pledged to provide £23 million funding for research and trials of new technology that ‘could help stop potholes from forming’.
This announcement followed reports of pothole breakdowns being at their highest in more than a decade.