In this year's survey Scotland has faired considerably worse than England on most counts in relation to the maintenance and funding of its roads. In England current local authority budget's allow councils to resurface roads once every 78 years. There has been a 106 per cent increase in the need for structural maintenance to Scotland's local authority roads over the past 10 years compared with an increase of only 58 per cent in England. The number of visual defects, such as potholes and cracks has increased by 68 per cent in England over the past 10 years whilst in the same period the increase in Scotland has been 104 per cent The only area in which Scotland beats England in the 2002 ALARM Survey conducted by the Asphalt Industry Allianceis in the amount of money local authorities pay in compensation to road users for accidents or damage caused by the state of the roads. In England on average each local authority paid out over£1m in claims last year compared to the£70,000 paid out on average by each local authority in Scotland.
The 2002 ALARM Survey, found a shortfall in road maintenance funding of£288m in Scotland between what local authorities claimed they needed to maintain roads adequately and what they actually received. On average each local authority is short-changed by£9m in Scotland compared to£5.8m in England. In all, 86 per cent of those responsible for the maintenance of Scotland's local authority roads believe that there is a threat to road users' safety due to maintenance under-funding.'The under funding of road maintenance has reached a ridiculous state when local authorities in Scotland receive less than a quarter (23 per cent) of the budget they need to look after roads properly,' says Jim Crick, Chairman of the AIA. 'The people who need the funds to look after our transport infrastructure are obviously not getting the money they need.'
Findings are part of the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) Survey conducted during December 1999/January 2000