Trunk roads in East Anglia - those managed by National Highways - are the worst in England, according to the government's official transport watchdog.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) report into road surfaces on main routes managed by National Highways shows that the Eastern region, including Suffolk, Norfolk and Essex, is consistently worse than the rest of England.

The East region trails the national-level target by nearly three per cent, and has had the lowest proportion of good condition road surfaces for the last three years.

The East region’s strategic road network has a higher proportion of A-roads, which are harder to maintain, and has more concrete roads, which do not perform as well as asphalt.

However, new data shows that while these effects are significant, the East region underperforms even when these factors are accounted for.

Feras Alshaker, director of planning and performance at ORR, said: “We will continue to hold National Highways to account, including on road surface condition, a key output of its asset management decision making, on behalf of all users of the strategic road network.”

A spokesman for National Highways in the East said more than £200m had been committed to improving or completely removing the old concrete surface on a number of roads across the east.

This includes the A12 in Essex, A14 between Haughley and Woolpit and the recently completed section of the A11, near Wymondham.

National Highways Executive Director for Operations Duncan Smith said: “We know that good quality roads are important to the millions of drivers that use our network each day.

"Our latest assessment shows that over 96% of our roads are in good condition and we continue to improve the surface of our roads including in the East of England.”

The Suffolk Chamber of Commerce has been leading calls for an upgrade of the A14 - especially the rebuilding of the Copdock Interchange with the A12 south of Ipswich.

East Anglian Daily Times: Paul Simon from the Suffolk Chamber.Paul Simon from the Suffolk Chamber. (Image: Paul Simon/Nicky West)

Paul Simon, from the Chamber, said: "The ORR report comes hot on the heels of an equally damning one from the Strategic Roads User Survey.

"The message is clear: the primary roads upon which Suffolk’s businesses and residents depend are just not fit for purpose.

“Whilst Suffolk Chamber of Commerce appreciates the investment now going in to reconstruct stretches of both the A12 and A14 between Ipswich and the rest of the country, it is vital that the Department for Transport does not consider that as ‘job done’.

“There remain a number of significant unresolved pinch points that need to be addressed, most notably the mess that is the Copdock Interchange outside Ipswich."