The length of road being resurfaced or otherwise improved in the UK has fallen to its lowest point in five years, analysis by the RAC has revealed.
The automotive services provider found a 29% reduction in the number of miles of road completely resurfaced from 2017/2018 to 2021/2022, with 1588 miles done in 2017/2018 and 1123 miles done in 2021/2022.
It was also found that, of the 153 road authorities sampled by the Department for Transport (DfT), 31% didn't carry out resurfacing works, while 51% didn't carry out surface-dressing work, wherein the lifespan of a road is extended without the need for full resurfacing.
Surface dressing itself was also found to be down on 2017/2018 levels by 34%.
This comes after news earlier this year that council compensation to road users affected by defects in the road could have repaired 340,000 potholes.
However, a survey from the 2023 Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (Alarm) claims that local authorities in England would have needed an average of an extra £7.7 million each last year to reach their own target road conditions, and it would now cost £14.02 billion and 11 years to bring the network up to a standard from which it could be maintained efficiently.
The RAC's head of policy, Simon Williams said: “These figures paint an incredibly stark picture of road maintenance in England and confirm our worst fears about the overall decline in the state of the country’s roads.
"While the government has made more money available to authorities to fill potholes, it’s the general reduction in road improvement work that’s causing potholes to appear in the first place."
Council areas found to resurface the highest proportion of their roads were Kent, freshening up 29 miles of its 502-mile A-road network, and Southend-on-Sea (in Essex), at 21 miles. Lincolnshire surface dressed most of its A-roads, at 50 miles out of 661.