Road safety stakeholders have welcomed a £2.5bn Government ‘shot-in-the-arm’ to fix potholes and resurface roads – but have stressed the importance of long-term planning to resolve the issue.
Announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak during his Budget speech on 11 March, the £2.5bn investment will be delivered over a five year period.
Mr Sunak said: “We can’t level up Britain and spread opportunity if we are spending our journeys dodging potholes and forking out for the damage they cause. It’s vital we keep roads in good condition.”
Stakeholders have cautiously welcomed the announcement – but have called for long-term funding guarantees from the Government.
IAM RoadSmart says a long-term plan is urgently needed to ‘cure the problem for good’.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Pothole damage is not just inconvenient and expensive, it is a massive safety concern.
“Drivers and riders pay a premium through their taxes for investment in roads. It really is time to ring-fence funds for tackling this pothole epidemic, and get the problem sorted once and for all.”
The RAC says the £2.5bn is helpful but may not be adequate – particularly if the UK is hit by extreme winter weather.
Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, said: “While additional funding from the chancellor to fix our local roads is helpful, what has been committed is simply not enough.
“The condition and maintenance of local roads continues to be a major concern for more than a third of drivers, with a majority believing the state of local roads has worsened in the last year.
“However, £2.5bn over the course of five years may not be adequate, particularly if the UK is hit by extreme winter weather.”
Meanwhile, the Government has also announced that more than £600bn is set to be spent on roads, rail, broadband and housing by the middle of 2027. There will be £27bn for motorways and other key roads, including new tunnel for the A303 near Stonehenge.