Transport Select Committee welcomes Department’s backing for long-term funding plan to fix local roads
THE Transport Select Committee has today [28 October] 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 pledge to work across government to make the case for a long-term funding plan, is contained in the Government response to the Committee’s report ‘Local roads funding and maintenance: filling the gap’.
The report, published in July 2019, 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.
In addition to signalling support on 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.
Lilian Greenwood MP, chair of the Transport Select Committee, 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.’
Rick Green, chair of the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), commented: ‘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 [in England only] there is an average annual shortfall of £4.1 million per authority in highways maintenance budgets, with an £8 billion bill to fix the backlog.
‘We believe that an extra £1 billion, each year for 10 years [England only], 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.’