RHA Welcomes £8 Billion Boost to Repair Roads
The RHA welcomes the announcement of an extra £8 billion to be spent on maintaining our road network and calls for more clarity to ensure that this money is spent as efficiently as possible.
For motorists across the country, insurance claims for potholes have risen by a third compared to claims in 2016; potholes are not simply a mere inconvenience but cause financial hardship to drivers across the country, whether behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle or a private car.
Ensuring that local authorities are adequately resourced to tackle the backlog of maintenance issues is essential. If repair works are planned as part of a programme, rather than simply being reactive repairs, the cost to the taxpayer decreases considerably.
The results of the 2022 ALARM survey demonstrated a considerable disparity in costs. Planned works cost an average of 35% less than reactive repairs in England (£46 planned; £71 reactive) and 57% less in Wales (£45 planned; £105 reactive).
Today’s announcement is a significant step in the right direction; if it can be paired with additional funding from other sources, there is a real opportunity here for progress on this issue.
Secondly, the RHA is calling for the return of the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Pothole Action Fund, for local-authority-maintained roads in England (excluding London), which operated between 2015/16 and 2020/21.
Under the current system, councils receive this funding through their block highway allocation with DfT stating that “It is up to the respective highway authority how best to spend this funding”. Naturally, it is harder to track how this funding is being spent. It is vital that this funding is ringfenced specifically for the purposes of highways maintenance, and not reallocated elsewhere at a time when councils are under such heavy financial pressure.
Finally, the RHA welcomes innovations in its Plan for Drivers around increasing the efficiency of repairs. We would encourage the government to ensure that local authorities are equipped with the most up to date practises to ensure that repairs are long lasting, efficient and more cost-effective for the taxpayer in the long term.