After conducting a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, IAM has claimed councils are following government stated best practice and increasingly investing more money into capital projects (including road rebuilding) rather than spending funds on short term temporary repairs. The FOI request asked county councils how much they spent on fixing road surface defects such as potholes and how much they spent on capital projects to resurface roads between 2013 and 2015. While the IAM’s findings reveal many councils are spending less on filling potholes, 17 out of 23 of them are spending more overall on resurfacing worn out roads. In early 2015 the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) confirmed a backlog of repairs topped £12bn, while an IAM survey found that 64% of participants cited general road maintenance as one of their biggest concerns.
The top five county councils to invest the most money into road repairs and resurfacing between 2014/15 include: Surrey (£44m), North Yorkshire (£43.9m), Cumbria (£33.5m), Devon (£32m) and Lincolnshire (£30.2m). In percentage terms, the following councils have increased their capital spending on resurfacing roads the most: Oxfordshire with 139% (from £4.6m to £11m), Cambridgeshire with 85% (from £10.5m to £19.4m), Norfolk with 45% (from £19m to £27.6m), Leicestershire with 43% (from £7.5m to £10.7m) and West Sussex with 38% (from £19.5m to £27m).
County councils that have invested the most money into temporary pothole repairs between 2014/15 include: Kent (£7.7m), Devon (£5.98m), Gloucestershire (£5.93m), Cumbria (£5.4m) and Surrey (£4.88m). The top five councils increasing spending for temporary pothole repairs in percentage terms compared to the previous year are: West Sussex with 57% (from £1.4m to £2.2m), Nottinghamshire with 28% (from £1.5m to £1.92m), Norfolk with 23% (from £2.6m to £3.2m), Devon with 21% (from £4.9m to £5.9m) and Dorset with 15% (from £2.6m to £3.2m). In tandem with the increase in spending on resurfacing roads, the IAM has discovered eight out of 21 councils are spending less on filling potholes.