The UK Government is claiming that it will address more than a decade of neglect on road repairs, directing £8.3 billion that was to be used on the HS2 rail project to upgrade the national road network instead. Years of slashed road repair budgets have resulted in serious deterioration of the UK’s road system and extensive maintenance works are now required.
The funding will be used over the next 11 years is hoped to be able to pay for repairs to over 8,000km of roads, which have suffered extensive wear.
Each local authority can use their share of the £8.3 billion to identify what local roads are in most need of repair and deliver immediate improvements for communities and residents. For example, there will be £3.3 billion for local authorities in the North West, North East and Yorkshire & Humber; and £2.2 billion for local authorities in the West Midlands and East Midlands. Meanwhile, there will be £2.8 billion for local authorities in the East of England, South East, South West and, for the first time in eight years, London.
The UK Government already confirmed £5.5 billion up until 2024/25. Today’s £8.3 billion nationwide boost comes in addition and extends until 2034, providing long-term certainty to local authorities and helping to prevent potholes from coming back in the future.
RAC head of policy Simon Williams said: “Drivers’ biggest bugbear of all is the poor condition of local roads, so the fact the Government has found a significant additional pot of revenue should give councils the certainty of funding they need to plan proper long-term road maintenance, something we have been calling for many years.
“We hope local authorities will use the money in the most effective way possible by resurfacing the very worst roads, keeping those in reasonable condition in better states for longer through surface dressing, and filling potholes as permanently as possible wherever necessary.
Edmund King OBE, AA president, said: “Perilous roads blighted by potholes are the number one concern for drivers and a major issue for bikers, cyclists and pedestrians. So far this year The AA has attended more than 450,000 pothole related breakdowns. The damage caused can be a huge financial burden for drivers but is also a major safety risk for those on two wheels.
“The £8.3 billion plan can make a considerable difference in bringing our roads back to the standards which road users expect, especially if councils use the cash efficiently to resurface our streets. As well as safer roads, eliminating potholes gives confidence to people wanting to cycle and instils pride of place within local communities.”
Rick Green, Chair of the Asphalt Industry Alliance, said: “We have long been calling for surety of funding over the long-term and the fact that the DfT has committed to this money being available over the next 11 years should allow highways teams to implement more efficient works to improve local road conditions and enhance the resilience of the network once they have details of their allocation.
“This long-term investment will also help give the asphalt supply chain confidence to further invest in plant upgrades, materials innovation and technical advancements to support the development and delivery of lower carbon roads, in line with the Government’s net zero ambitions.”