LGA and RAC disagree on cause of pothole ‘surge’
A rise in the weight of goods being transported on Great Britain’s roads will see pothole levels ‘surge’, local councils are warning.
DfT figures published last month show that the amount of goods lifted in the UK by GB-registered heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in the 12-months ending June 2016 saw a year-on-year rise of 5% to 1.69bn tonnes.
In a press release issued today, the Local Government Association (LGA) suggests the increase could push the road network ‘over the edge’.
However, while the RAC backs the LGA’s call for increased Government funding, it says the suggestion that bigger lorries are a major factor in the pothole surge is a ‘red herring’.
The LGA, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, says the heavier the vehicle, the more pressure is likely to be exerted on road surfaces - causing them to crumble more quickly.
The cross-party organisation adds that lorries, particularly ‘very heavy’ lorries, are ‘massively more damaging’ to road surfaces than cars.
2017 could be ‘tipping point year’ for potholes: LGA
09 January 2017
Having issued a warning last month that 2017 could be ‘a tipping point year’ for potholes, the LGA now says that ‘chronic government underfunding’ has left the local roads network facing an ‘unprecedented crisis’.
The LGA is calling on the Government to inject a further £1bn annually into roads maintenance, which it says could be raised by investing just 2p per litre of existing fuel duty. The LGA also says previous polling shows that 83% would support this reallocation of funds.
Cllr Martin Tett, LGA transport spokesman, said: “Motorists should literally be bracing themselves for a surge in potholes.
“Our local roads network faces an unprecedented funding crisis and the latest spike in lorries could push our local roads network over the edge. Lorries exert massively more weight on road surfaces than cars, causing them to crumble far quicker.”
Nicholas Lyes, RAC roads policy spokesman, said: “This will sadly come as no surprise for motorists who are used to hearing this type of bad news on a regular basis. They are all too aware of the dire state of our local roads and the level of underfunding.
“We welcome the call from the LGA for increased Government funding to address the national disgrace of potholes and we support the proposal to ring-fence a proportion of existing fuel duty revenue to fund sustained improvement over a long-term period.
“However, the suggestion that bigger lorries are a major factor in the surge of potholes is something of a red herring. The reality is an increase in freight traffic is a sign of a stronger economy and greater traffic volumes are inevitable.”
Photo: _chrisUK via Flickr. Use under Creative Commons.