Fixing nation’s potholes will take 14 years, councils warn

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The Government has been warned that billions of pounds will be needed to combat a growing crisis in road maintenance across the nation amid a dramatic increase in a backlog of repairs.

The amount of time it would take to fix England’s roads has soared by almost a third in the past decade, according to a report by the Local Government Association (LGA).

Figures show it would now take 14 years to clear the backlog of road repairs across the country, excluding London, compared with 10.9 years in 2006.

Councils in Yorkshire revealed they are investing millions in road works to help boost transport infrastructure across both rural and urban communities.

And Leeds City Council called for more Government funding after they revealed a backlog despite spending more than £20m a year.

Member for transport Coun Richard Lewis said: “We are dealing with a backlog in terms of outstanding repairs on our road network in Leeds of more than £100 million.

“We would call on the Government to consider what additional support can be given to local authorities to help tackle problems like potholes which affect all road users every day.”

North Yorkshire spends an average of £65m a year repairing 5,000 miles of roads.

And Sheffield, which funds road works through its Government-funded Streets Ahead programme, has filled more than 52,000 potholes and resurfaced more than 500 miles of road since 2012.

Coun Bryan Lodge, member for environment, said: “We expect to complete the upgrade works by the end of 2017, changing our roads from some of the worst in the country to some of the best.”

Sheffield has had problems with potholes in the past and last year the council paid more than £22,000 in compensation after it received 239 claims made for damaged vehicles.

A report published earlier this year by the Asphalt Industry Alliance found that it would cost £11.8bn to repair roads to a reasonable standard.

Secretary of State for Transport Andrew Jones, the MP for Harrogate and Knaresborough, said: “The Government is providing a record £6bn over the next five years to allow councils to fix local roads across 
England.

“We topped this up with £250m last year specifically to tackle the blight of potholes.”

* What do you think of the problem? Should more money be spent on roads? Should the backlog take 14 years to clear? Email your letters to yp.editor@ypn.co.uk.