A report released by Commons Transport Committee sheds light on a bigger budget required to tackle the problem of potholes on local roads in England. The Filling the Gap report attributed to lack of targeted funds to the present situation of the unsatisfactory condition of roads in England.
“Most people won’t have to go further than the local shops to spot a pothole that poses a risk of injury or damage,” commented Labour MP Lilian Greenwood with regards to the situation of roads.
In the wake of the situation, MPs have raised an appeal to the Treasury for allocation of a ‘front-loaded’ five-year fund in order to deal with the situation. Moreover, committee chairwoman, Greenwood, also reported that due to ‘cash-strapped councils’, money was diverted to tackle poor roads, in order to fund other, vital services.
“Local authorities are in the invidious position of having to rob Peter to pay Paul. Cash-strapped councils are raiding their highways and transport budgets to fund core services,” according to Greenwood.
Furthermore, reports suggest a downfall in the council’s spending power, in addition to a decrease in funds from central government and local taxes by almost 30% since 2010. Although main roads and motorways in Wales, Scotland and England come under the responsibility of Highways England, Transport Scotland and the Welsh Government, the councils have the responsibility of maintenance of local roads, which also sees to the problems of potholes. Presently the potholes have been a menace to pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists, resulting into minor road accidents and traffic problems.
Chancellor Philip Hammond had promised for a Budget of an extra £420m to the councils in England last year, especially safeguarding for the problem of “potholes, repair damaged roads, and invest in keeping bridges open and safe.” However, according to the transport committee, the funding is still not enough, in addition to insufficient allocation of current funding.
As a result, the committee’s 10th Report of Session 2017-19 highlighted that poor conditions of roads would need taxpayers to pay greater costs. Moreover, it also elaborated that quick fixes rendered to be more expensive, hence calling for a longer-term strategy which will give the council the opportunity to plan ahead and thus promote collaboration and innovation.
“Now is the time for the department to propose a front-loaded, long-term funding settlement to the Treasury as part of the forthcoming spending review,” as per Ms Greenwood. “Almost every journey begins and ends on local roads: the DfT must work with the public and local authorities to make them safe.”