Motorists to pay for road maintenance cuts

10.49 | 14 March 2012 | | 3 comments

Motorists will have to spend more repairing their cars because cuts to road maintenance budgets will lead to more potholes and vehicle damage, the Public Accounts Committee has warned. (Telegraph).

Local authorities, who are responsible for 90% of the country’s road network, have been told to find £223m from their roads maintenance budget. But it is unclear how these savings – equivalent to 40% of the total – will be found, the Public Accounts Committee has warned in a report published on 13 March.

Margaret Hodge, the committee’s chairman, said: “The Department (for Transport) doesn’t fully understand what impact its cuts to road maintenance will have on the state of the UK’s roads.

“My committee is concerned that short-term budget cutting could prove counterproductive, costing more in the long term as a result of increased vehicle damage and the higher cost of repairing the more severe road damage.”

According to the Committee, the Highways Agency, which is responsible for major roads – about 10% of the total – has had to pay £2.5m in compensation for vehicle damage and personal injury.

The DfT has said it hopes to make savings through less frequent and more intensive maintenance, according to the Telegraph report.

The Committee went on to say: “There is a risk that these short-term cuts could lead to increased expenditure over the medium to long term if roads deteriorate and insurance claims increase.

“The overall costs will not reduce in the long term if deterioration of the road network results in higher costs repairs in future, and there are more claims on the Department and local authorities for vehicle damage.

“For example, we are concerned that the Department has not estimated the costs of meeting potential extra claims.

“The Department should monitor road conditions closely with a view to avoiding increased future costs; and it should publish regular assessments which detail where it sees particular risks and how it plans to mitigate them.”

An AA spokesman endorsed the report’s findings, saying: “If the road network is allowed to deteriorate in the long term it will cost an awful lot more. Potholes breed potholes and a poor road surface will fail the next time it comes under stress. That is likely to be the next time we have a bad winter.”

Norman Baker, transport minister, said: “I recognise there is an ongoing need for highways maintenance that can’t be fixed overnight, however we are providing £3bn to councils for road maintenance between 2011 and 2015 which is more in cash terms than the previous four years – as well as investing £6m for longer term strategies. We also gave them generous windfall handouts last year following the severe winter which caused major problems.”

Click here to read the full Telegraph report.


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    Some good news, however, from me! Blackpool has started repairing its decaying road structures. They borrowed some £30 million last year and are now getting on with it.

    So that’s good news for me and my bike, providing I don’t ride outside of Blackpool!

    On a more serious note, for every pothole that appears there is a much larger area [about 5 times as large] made totally unsafe for any cyclist or twv and that is because of the grit, or chippings or rubbish that is thrown all over the road from out of said pothole.

    But no one knows how dangerous it is or cares anything about it. LA engineers call it natural decay and it’s not.

    bob craven Lancs
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I ride a motorcycle (and have since 1965) and have rarely had to repair leaking front fork oil seals, maybe 3/4 times since 1965.

    The last time would be about 3yrs ago when I replaced a leaking one on my current motorcycle; only one was leaking but if one goes it’s likely the other will leak sooner rather than later. Now I have a leak again on the same fork leg and that’s only after 3yrs and actually less mileage than before.

    The pressure being put on our car suspension by poor, rutted roads is nothing and negligable compaired to that which our motorcycles have to suffer.

    Our councils have a fund of monies, they just do not use it – ask each council under the Freedom of Information act and it will suprise u just how much monies they have squirrelled away.

    bob craven Lancs.
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    A lot of the roads around Slough have been resurfaced over the last couple of years, many of them just recently.

    There are still some potholes and one particular road that needs doing but there are definite improvements.

    Fixing the roads is a good use of cash and taxpayers can see the benefit.

    Dave Finney – Slough
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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