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Home Breaking Council Road Maintenance in England Drops to Lowest Point in Five Years, RAC Analysis Shows

Council Road Maintenance in England Drops to Lowest Point in Five Years, RAC Analysis Shows

Council road maintenance in England has declined significantly, dropping by 45% in 2022/23 compared to five years ago, according to an analysis by the RAC of new government statistics. This decline has resulted in 3,366 fewer miles receiving any kind of improvement work, raising concerns about road safety and infrastructure quality.

The analysis reveals a concerning trend in road maintenance across the country. In 2022/23, only 764 miles of A roads underwent strengthening, resurfacing, or preservation work, marking a 37% decrease from 1,222 miles in 2017/2018. Similarly, minor roads classified as B, C, and unclassified saw a 46% drop, with only 3,380 miles receiving maintenance compared to 6,288 miles five years prior.

Of particular concern is the low percentage of A roads receiving maintenance, with just 4% of the 17,853 miles maintained by councils in England being resurfaced or given life-extending preservation treatment in the last financial year.

Simon Williams, RAC’s head of policy, expressed alarm over the findings, highlighting the importance of maintaining both major and minor roads for driver safety and infrastructure integrity. He emphasized the financial burden on drivers due to pothole-related repairs, with costs potentially reaching up to £460 per incident.

Williams called for a proactive approach to road maintenance, advocating for a ‘traffic light’ system where roads in varying conditions receive appropriate preventative treatments or full resurfacing. He also urged for increased funding dedicated to roads maintenance, suggesting a portion of fuel duty revenue be allocated for long-term infrastructure improvements.

To facilitate the monitoring of road defects, the RAC has partnered with Metricell to introduce Stan, a free mobile app enabling drivers to report road issues directly to authorities. Stan utilizes AI to identify defects and contributes to a national road map of surface issues, aiming to prompt timely repairs and improve road safety.

The RAC’s analysis underscores the urgent need for investment in road maintenance to ensure the safety and quality of England’s road network, minimizing the risk of pothole-related breakdowns and preserving vital infrastructure for years to come.

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