Published: 11:46, 13 October 2021
| Updated: 14:57, 13 October 2021
A 'widescale resurfacing of crumbling streets' is needed, says the AA, which insists road repair funds must now begin focussing on both residential and rural roads.
Money that would have fixed almost 10 million potholes has reportedly been lost from local council budgets this year - a reduction of £400 million.
According to the Local Government Association there is a £10 billion backlog of road repairs alongside a growing problem of increased construction costs generated by the global supply problems now affecting numerous industries.
Both the LGA and motoring organisation the AA are calling for more money - with the latter insisting that for the safety of road users, and in particular cyclists, money must be diverted to fix more than just main routes.
The LGA - the national membership body for local councils - is urging the government to plug the £400 million gap - while also committing to an additional £500 million per year for road repairs.
It says fixing roads remains a top priority for councils - with a pothole repaired every 19 seconds - but that future allocations of money from central government must take into account 'significant' inflation rates in highways construction and maintenance costs.
Cllr David Renard, LGA transport spokesperson, said: “Councils are working hard to keep our roads safe and resilient, repairing potholes as quickly as they can.
"However, it would already take £10 billion and more than a decade to clear the current local roads repair backlog, with the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent cancellation of key planned works risking extending this backlog further."
Jack Cousens, head of policy for the AA, is concerned there has been more focus on main roads in recent years and attention needs to shift towards damage on rural and residential streets, which he says, among other problems, puts those travelling on two wheels in 'great personal danger'.
The motoring organisation says the last 18 months of lockdowns and more cars parked in residential streets as a result, has had a major impact on resurfacing works in smaller streets and the problem must now be addressed.
He explained: “Emergency road-repair funds of recent years have been targeted at main roads rather than residential and rural ones. These are the ones that vulnerable road users, such as cyclists, use the most.
"Pandemic lockdowns and cars parked outside homes got in the way of resurfacing schedules, but now it’s time to catch up.
“As the Government urges local authorities to ‘Build Back Better’, this should be the launchpad for a widescale resurfacing of crumbling streets."
In March, Kent County Council announced an £11 million programme to extend the life of the county's roads and prevent potholes. The 'road surface preservation programme' planned to fix 125 miles of highway before the end of September.
Speaking at the time, the authority said it was also putting together a detailed programme of works to cover the next five years, which it hoped would include around 7.5 million square metres of road resurfacing.