More financial support needed to tackle road crisis in wake of harsh winter

Potholes are caused by the weather - but what is wrong with prioritising those on the Women's Tour r

Potholes are caused by the weather - but what is wrong with prioritising those on the Women's Tour route? Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Roads across the country – including East Anglia – are facing a crisis after this winter’s storms according to a new report by the body which represents road engineering companies.

The number of potholes reported in Suffolk has doubled. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The number of potholes reported in Suffolk has doubled. Picture: GREGG BROWN

And the Local Government Association has urged Whitehall to increase its support for the regional road networks which only get a fraction of the support offered to strategic routes.

The annual report of the Asphalt Industries Association (AIA) warns that at the current rate of progress, the “average” road in England can only expect to be resurfaced every 92 years.

Rick Green, chairman of the AIA, said: “Although local authorities report an increase in average highway maintenance budgets this year, looking back over the last decade they have barely kept in line with inflation.

“This is reflected in road condition, with one in five of our local roads now classed as structurally poor – with less than five years’ life remaining – compared with one in six reported last year.


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“Local roads are a vital asset, worth in the region of £400billion, and they support all aspects of our daily work and home lives. But funding for their adequate maintenance has fallen short for so many years that further deterioration is inevitable.”

The report relies on statistics from local authorities which are provided in confidence, so it is unable to give a breakdown of individual counties’ figures.

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However it does say that across the East of England (Suffolk, Essex, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire), 107,237 potholes were repaired last year.

Martin Tett, from the Local Government Association, said Whitehall had to provide more support: “Very few journeys begin and end on a motorway or trunk road yet government funding on the strategic road network is 52 times higher than for local roads. “Spending more on improving our national roads will only serve to speed vehicles up between increased delays and congestion on local roads.”

Jane Storey, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We are continuing to bring together all available resource to manage incoming reports and get these defects assessed and, if necessary, repaired as soon as possible. In the meantime, we encourage all motorists to take care and drive to the conditions of the road.”

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