Road repair backlog leaves councils facing massive bills

The £6bn funding set aside by the Government to help councils tackle road repairs is a drop in the ocean, with some local authorities facing individual repair bills as great as £100m to complete the backlog of repairs needed. Our feature writer Suzanne Danon tells us more...

BBC Freedom of Information requests revealed Leeds City Council needed to spend up to £100m to tackle road repairs in the area. Other councils looking at costly bills include Gloucestershire, £86m, Islington, £79m, Oldham, £60m.

The RAC believes the rise in potholes across the UK has been caused by ‘cash strapped councils’ reactive patch and dash approach’ to fixing the costly problem. It claims that rather than resurfacing roads properly councils are repairing potholes individually in a hurry and sometimes in wet weather causing them to quickly breakdown and reappear.

A spokesman said: “Planned preventative maintenance would, in the longer term, be a more efficient and cost effective way of dealing with the issue.”

Responding to the funding announcement, confirmed in the Local Government Finance Settlement, a Local Government Association (LGA) spokesman added: “Previous LGA analysis of the £6 billion funding over five years found it equated to an extra £300 million a year on top of the £700 million councils were expecting, but was still £800 million short of what was needed to repair the poor quality of roads in one year alone. So while helpful, this new money does not bridge the overall funding gap which is increasing year on year.

“Recent harsh winters and decades of underfunding by successive governments have created a national backlog of road repairs that would take £12 billion and a decade for councils to fix.”

Have you been affected by potholes in some way? Is repairing potholes a good use of public money?

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