‘Bumpy Ride Ahead ‘

A report released by PTEG has suggested there is a growing gap between spending on road maintenance on national roads when compared with local roads. Called ‘A Bumpy Ride – the funding and economics of Highways Maintenance on local roads in the city regions’, the study found that 98% of the road network is managed by local highways authorities, which carry two thirds of all motorised traffic. However the 2% of the road network managed by Highways England received 2.7 times as much maintenance spend per km as local authority-managed A roads and motorways and 15.9 times as much as local authority unclassified roads.

Other findings included funding for Highways England is set to more than double over the next five years, whilst maintenance spending on local roads has already fallen by 25% since 2010 (in real terms) and local authorities will continue to see swingeing cuts for the foreseeable future. In the six English metropolitan areas alone (with a combined population of 11m), there were 5,500kms of local roads in urgent need of repair in 2014, compared to 220kms across the entire Highways England network.

The report goes on to suggest that stop-start road maintenance funding is inefficient. It also explains that the poor condition of local roads is a drag on productivity by making it more expensive to move people and goods around. The study calls on the government to create longer term certainty and stability over highways maintenance funding. It suggests the authorities support an accelerated maintenance programme, which would see a significant increase in maintenance spending over the next five years so as to bring road surfaces back up to a sustainable condition.

The report can be downloaded here: www.pteg.net/resources/types/reports/bumpy-ride

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