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Digest: Warning over road repair costs

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The bill for maintaining roads is set to rise to three times councils’ entire highways revenue spend, the Local Government Association has warned.

It said repair costs could reach £14bn by 2019 which is more than three times the £4.4bn annual revenue spend on highways and transport by local authorities.

The repair costs figure is based on a projection of statistics by the Asphalt Industry Alliance, which said highway repair costs had risen from £9.8bn in 2012 to £11.8bn last year.

The LGA called on the Government to allocate an extra £1bn a year to highways and suggested this could be done by investing 2p per litre on the existing fuel duty.It stressed it should not result in fuel duty rates being increased.

It noted that over the rest of this decade the government would invest more than £1.1m per mile in maintaining its motorways and trunk roads against the £27,000 per mile spent on the far more extensive local roads network.

Martin Tett (Con), the LGA’s transport spokesman, said: “It is wrong and unfair that the Government allocates almost 40 times more to maintaining national roads, which it controls, compared with local roads, which are overseen by councils. It is paramount this funding discrepancy is swiftly plugged.”

The pothole repair time has risen from an estimated 10.9 years in 2006 to 14 years in 2016. Councils fix almost two million potholes a year – an average of 12,000 potholes for each local authority. Yet the average English council faces an estimated £69m one-time cost to bring its roads up to a reasonable condition.

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