Local authorities lack the certainty of long-term funding to make real improvements to their road networks, according to the RAC.
Responding to annual Government statistics on the condition of roads in England, the RAC says some local roads are ‘a very real road safety danger’.
The motoring organisation is calling on the Government to ring-fence existing funds raised from fuel duty – adding that just two pence per litre collected would raise nearly £5bn over the next five years.
In addition to existing council funding, the RAC says this ‘would go some way towards clearing the backlog of potholes that currently plague many parts of the UK’.
The DfT statistical bulletin, published on 3 October, says the condition of local authority managed roads has remained ‘stable’ in recent years.
The report highlights that in 2018/19, 3% of local authority ‘A’ roads (including motorways) were categorised as red – meaning they ‘should have been considered for maintenance’.
In addition, 6% of ‘B’ and ‘C’ roads also fell into that category.
Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, said: “These figures suggest the overall state of the UK’s roads is not getting any worse – although clearly there are some areas of the country where road condition is worsening, perhaps as a result of localised bad weather.
“It also remains the case that a driver today is twice as likely to suffer a breakdown as a result of a pothole than they were in 2006.
“This not only raises the spectre of expensive repairs for vehicle owners, but also represents a very real road safety danger for drivers, bikers and cyclists.
“While recent funding announcements, combined with a mild winter, might have stemmed the pothole problem, the reality is that local authorities still lack the certainty of long-term funding to make real improvements to their road networks, and remain unable to shift their maintenance procedures from being reactive to being preventative.”