Road maintenance in England “has reached a new low point” – RAC

13.04 | 4 March 2024 | | 1 comment

Analysis shows that the length of roads given maintenance by councils in England each year has dropped by 45% over the last five years.

The analysis, carried out by the RAC using Government data, shows 764 miles of A roads were strengthened, resurfaced or preserved in 2022/23 – equating to 4% of the 17,853 miles of A roads maintained by councils in England.

The figure represents a 37% decrease (458 miles) from the 1,222 miles recorded in 2017/2018. 

For minor roads listed as B, C, and unclassified, 3,380 miles were maintained in the last financial year compared to 6,288 five years before, a drop of 46% (2,908 miles).

Looking at specific types of road maintenance, 1,223 miles of all road types were entirely resurfaced by councils: a small 9% increase on 2021/22 but 22% fewer than six years ago. 

Meanwhile preservation treatments – such as surface dressing and micro surfacing used to extend the life of roads – fell to their lowest level in five years. 

Just 2,698 miles of roads were given preservation treatment in the last financial year, a 50% dip on the 5,345 miles treated five years ago and a 25% drop year-on-year compared to 2021/22.

Simon Williams, RAC head of policy, said: “These figures lay bare just how little resurfacing and life-extending preservation work councils have managed to carry out in the last financial year. We suspect this means road maintenance in England has reached a new low point – a sorry state of affairs considering how car-dependent the country is.

“It’s especially concerning to see that so few miles of A roads received any form of road maintenance last year when these important routes are used by millions of drivers every day. Meanwhile, our minor roads that are essential in connecting rural areas have received barely a crumb of the pie.”



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    Hardly surprising when the fuel duty has been frozen for the 14th successive year. In fact at 52.95p its lower than the 53.65p level in 2007.

    Rod King, Lymm
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