Roads in England and Wales on the brink of collapse, warns Asphalt Industry Alliance

Close Up Of Potholes In City Road Surface

Potholes have caused roads in England and Wales to reach a “breaking point,” according to the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA).

According to the AIA Alarm Survey, as the cost of repairing the backlog of repairs hits a record high of £16.3 billion, over half of the local road network in England and Wales may collapse over the next 15 years.

After extensive data analysis, it was discovered that over two million potholes should be filled by local governments in the current financial year.

This is an increase of 43% compared to the previous 12 months.

Additionally, it is the biggest amount since roughly 2.2 million potholes were repaired in England and Wales between 2015 and 2016.

Just 47% of local roads are currently in ‘good structural condition,’ and over 107,000 miles of local roads have a structural life of less than 15 years.

Rick Green, Chair of the Asphalt Industry Alliance, which commissions the ALARM survey, said: “Local authorities have a bit more money to spend this year but the impact of rising costs due to inflation means they have actually been able to do less with it.

“Couple this with the effects of the extreme weather we are increasingly facing, and the result is that the rate at which local roads are suffering is accelerating towards breaking point.

“There’s still a mountain to climb when it comes to fixing our local roads and while it’s great that English local authorities should be getting more money from the Government through its Network North funding, it’s clearly not going to be enough to halt the decline.”

Green continued: “The Transport Secretary was quoted as saying that the additional £8.3 billion over 11 years is enough to resurface 5,000 miles of local roads. This sounds like a lot, but not when you consider that there are already more than 34,000 miles identified as structurally poor, with less than five years’ life remaining.

“We need to get to the point where local authority highway engineers can plan and proactively carry out repairs and preventative works in the most timely and efficient way to the greatest benefit of all road users – rather than just having enough money to address immediate and urgent needs.”

Following the release of the report, RAC head of policy Simon Williams said: “The findings from this report send the clearest signal yet to the Government of the critical state of so many of the roads used by millions every day.

“By the Government’s own admission, the extra £8.3bn from the cancelled parts of HS2 is only sufficient to resurface around 5,000 miles of road, which is sadly just 3% of all council-managed roads in England. With this report showing an estimated 107,000 miles of roads are fast reaching the end of their lives, the scale of the problem now facing councils is truly gargantuan.

“The fact government data shows road maintenance is actually declining at a time when the precise opposite is needed, is even further evidence that councils don’t have the funding they need to look after these most important assets.

“The status quo is not sustainable. The longer the Government fails to grasp this reality, the bigger the eventual cost to the public purse.

“Only a commitment to introducing ring-fenced roads funding for councils will get them out of this dire mess. Without it, our roads will only get worse.”

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