The Transport Committee has welcomed a commitment by the Department for Transport (DfT) to press the Treasury for a longer-term funding settlement for councils to tackle “the plague of potholes” on local roads.
The cross-governmental pledge to make the case for a long-term funding plan, is contained in Whitehall’s response to the Committee’s report Local roads funding and maintenance: filling the gap.
The report, published in July, proposed a “front-loaded, long-term funding settlement for councils to tackle a historic backlog of poorly maintenance roads and plan confidently for the future”.
Chair of the Transport Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, said: “A simple visit to the shops or the regular journey to work can result in injury or damage to someone’s vehicle from the plague of potholes on our local roads. This is an issue that affects everyone – pedestrians, cyclists and drivers – every day.
“We therefore welcome the commitment from the Department to work across government on giving local councils the cash and long-term funding certainty they need to tackle the effects on roads of years of neglect.
“The new DfT ministerial team’s willingness to engage with the work and recommendations of the Committee is refreshing. We’ll continue to press to ensure the Government commits to proper funding to make sure roads are safe for all.”
In addition to showing support for key recommendations on funding and expenditure, the government has accepted Committee recommendations on “making it easier for the public to report potholes and bringing innovation funding together in one place”.
Responding to the Committee’s report, Asphalt Industry Alliance chairman, Rick Green said: “We agree with the Transport Select Committee’s report and the Government’s response on the need for a long-term approach to investment in highways maintenance.
“Our Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey highlights that there is an average annual shortfall of £4.1m per authority in highways maintenance budgets, with a £8 billion bill to fix the backlog.
“We believe that an extra £1 billion, each year for 10 years, is needed to bring road conditions up to a level from which they can be maintained cost effectively going forward. We hope those in control of the purse strings will heed the calls for a significant long-term settlement.”