Currently reading: Parliamentary inquiry into ‘pothole plague’ begins
Transport Select Committee addresses the state of UK’s roads, claiming that resurfacing work has tailed off significantly

The state of the UK’s roads has attracted the attention of the Transport Select Committee, which is launching an inquiry into how road repairs are funded. 

Road resurfacing, research from the Asphalt Industry Association (AIA) says, has dropped in average frequency from every 55 years to once every 92 years, raising concerns about the effect this is having on the state of repair of Britain's roads. 

The AIA’s Alarm survey says the percentage of budget spent on fixing carriageways in England this year has fallen by 2% compared with last year, to 56%, although it’s risen by 5% to 63% in Wales. The English carriageway maintenance budget has risen by £1.9 million, meanwhile, to £14.7 million.

The committee is calling for evidence from the public on road conditions, as well as insight into the knock-on effects of poorly maintained roads and any thoughts on how the roads should be maintained. 

Concerns about cyclist safety and damage to cars are cited as areas of interest, with the committee saying: “Road condition and maintenance has been a matter of public concern for several years, with potholes plaguing the country.” 

Committee chair Lilian Greenwood said: “This plague of potholes represents a major headache for all of us. The consequences of a deteriorating local road network are significant – undermining local economic performance and resulting in direct costs to motorists, through damage to road vehicles. The safety of other road users, particularly cyclists, is compromised.

"Our inquiry aims to investigate the situation in England, including current funding constraints and potential alternative models that could offer a solution. We know that this is a high-priority issue among the public and I hope our inquiry will help put the onus on the Government to address it sooner rather than later."

Read more: 

Potholes: how much they cost the UK and how they are fixed

Autocar, the Transport Select Committee and you

The pothole in the Government’s road repair plan

Who’s to blame for Britain’s pothole problems?

Join the debate

Add a comment…
mysteryx 4 August 2018

Money Spent

Hopefully Jimi you meant 1.9 BILLION otherwise i'll be wanting some of my road and fuel tax back

MarkII 3 August 2018

Proper Resurfacing Not Patching

Patching is a poor quality 'sticking plaster' approach that doesn't last more than a few months, so the contractors get paid time and again to repair the same holes or highlight 2 or 3, leaving others that are a matter of feet away, so they can return again in a few weeks or months.

Like most drivers, I'm sick and tired of dodging potholes in the day-time and hearing the horrific noise as my wheels hit those I can't see at night or in the rain.

As if poor quality patches weren't bad enough, they then cover large areas in loose chippings, which remain a skid hazard and damage paint and windscreens for months to come.

It may seem cheap to patch and cover up like this but like many of the governments money saving policies, in the long term it's a false economy with a much wider and greater impact to the economy (as others have said).

The only long-term solution is to properly resurface roads like they used to do, tear it up, lay a solid foundation, resurface to a decent standard with good quality materials.

The last time I saw a good stretch of road resurfaced like that was in Wales. During a 120 mile journey that crossed two English counties to get to Wales the ratio of potholes must have been around 5:1 and the last 15 or so miles on fresh tarmac was smooth, silent and stress free - a rare pleasure in England these days...

My advice to the government is get your finances in order: If you can't and need more money, stop faffing around and deal with corporate tax avoidance like you promised: For a start off get Amazon to pay the correct amount of corporation tax and spend it on our roads - all their dirty diesel vans thundering up and down certainly don't help the roads or the air quality.

It's a national disgrace so central government should deal with it - stop the political blame game and just fix it!!!

Peter Cavellini 4 August 2018

What’s important is.......

Mark11@ , We all now or think that We the Car Drivers fund everything, well if that’s true, what would you rather have?, an already always struggling NHS or, a better performing Tax collection?, yes the Roads wherever you live are atrocious, your Local Council can only fix it with the Money Centrai Government gives them which is money for the whole of local council provision, each department has to fight for its budget and often doesn’t get it, putting the Road problem back in Central Government control won’t solve it it’ll take longer to get repairs done, yes I’m cynical because that’s how it happens, Roads aren’t going to improve, there more and more traffic on the Roads every year, Beeching in the sixties screwed up distribution by closing Stations and Yards, that put more Traffic on the Road, why can’t we reverse that and put it back on Trains with distribution from there?, it’s not your Councils fault, it’s ours, because we all want it yesterday and moan about it if it doesn’t!

MarkII 5 August 2018

@Peter Cavellini

Peter, if you're going to take issue with what I say then take issue with what I SAY - please don't presume to put words in my mouth or misquote me.

I did not say anything about car drivers funding everything - those are your words and do not reflect my view.

The tax paying public and companies of Great Britain fund the government through all forms of taxation but there is considerable inefficiency, waste, misuse and misapplication of money on many levels and in many areas: Vast sums are spent on pointless projects, think tanks, investigations that take years to reach a conclusion most could in 5 minutes, overseas aid that whikst laudablr should not come before we have our own house in order, whilst all the time funding for the NHS, social care, infrastructure (such as roads etc) and business development go to hell in a hand cart.

As far as collecting taxes, HMRC should be tough on all tax avoidance but they're not, they go after the minoes whilst the big fish get away - billions of pounds that could have been helping this country have been lost and don't get me started on the money that disappered on the banking fiasco.

You mention the Beeching report and the decimation that caused to our rail infrastructure and I agree with you but if the government can't keep our existing roads in good order then redeveloping nearly 5,000 miles of lost track is never going to happen.

I don't accept your last point either, it's not my fault, your fault or our fault collectively as Britains - we voters put a national and local government into place to represent the best interests of this country and to properly administer the private and company tax funds that we generate. We place considerable trust that they will do so wisely but rarely is our trust repaid - politicians and councillors screw up regularly with few consequences personally and despite their failures, most walk away richer than when they arrived in office.

I said the state of our roads was a national disgrace and central government should sort it out, that doesn't mean control goes back to London it just means the solution to a national issue should come from central government - a suitable long term policy and sufficient annual funding ring-fenced specifically for that purpose.

You see Peter, I know there is a bigger picture, all I'm saying is with specific regard to road repairs, in the long term, patching is an inefficient waste of public funds.

A better way is needed.

max1e6 3 August 2018

Foreign aid spending

Abolish the foreign aid budget and spend the money on replacing the UK's worn out roads instead.