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Driving motorists potty: Road surface repairs hit four-year low

Written by: Matthew Browning
The number of roads resurfaced or repaired to prevent potholes in the UK was the least it’s been for four years and damages are costing drivers, research reveals.

A third of the 153 roads authorities included in the 2021-2022 Government data did no resurfacing at all, while half (51%) failed to carry out any surface dressing work – a technique preventing the need for future resurfacing of a road.

In total, there were 1,123 miles of road resurfaced in that period across the UK, which compared to 1,588 in 2018 – a 29% drop.

Drivers in Southend-on-Sea experienced the most disruption in proportion to the rest of the UK, as the city had only three of its 21-mile (13%) A-road network resurfaced.

In July, the amount of breakdowns due to pothole damage rose by a fifth in a year and motoring service RAC has called on the Government to increase funding for local road maintenance.

Road maintenance in ‘a state of decline’

Reacting to the road surfacing data, Simon Williams, the head of policy at RAC, said: “These figures paint an incredibly stark picture of road maintenance in England and confirm our worst fears about the overall decline in the state of the country’s roads.

“While the Government has made more money available to authorities to fill potholes, it’s the general reduction in road improvement work that’s causing potholes to appear in the first place. It’s abundantly clear that councils in so many areas are barely scratching the surface when it comes to getting their roads up to a reasonable standard, and indeed the fact that such a large proportion haven’t done any surface dressing or resurfacing at all over a 12-month period really does say it all.”

He added: “Drivers contribute billions of pounds to the Treasury every year, so it’s extremely frustrating that they continue to have to endure substandard road surfaces. We encourage local authorities to take a more preventative approach to road maintenance as this will make their squeezed budgets go further and improve England’s roads for the future.

“We also continue to call on the Government to increase the roads funding settlements for councils, not least because England’s major roads receive seven times what local roads are given, despite the fact there are seven times more miles of minor roads.”

Resurfaced roads in the UK

Source: RAC

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