Backlog of road repairs stands at £12.6bn – sparking calls for spring declaration cash

The Asphalt Industry Alliance’s annual report reveals the state of our highways – and how much money will be needed to bring them back to decent standards

A pothole is repaired every 19 seconds

The road repair backlog has reached £12.64 billion – £61,700 for every kilometer of local road in England and Wales, a report revealed today.

The staggering sum is needed to repair potholes and resurface bumpy pavements, according to the Asphalt Industry Alliance’s annual survey by the Local Authority Road Maintenance.

With Chancellor Rishi Sunak due to present the spring declaration mini-budget tomorrow, he called for more government money to upgrade the highways.

Chairman Rick Green said: “Local highway teams have a legal responsibility to keep our roads safe but do not have the resources to do so in a cost effective and proactive manner.

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“Therefore, while they are reporting some slight improvements in surface conditions, the structure of our roads continues to deteriorate.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak makes his spring declaration on Wednesday



The study warns that nearly one in five local roads will need to be rebuilt over the next five years — nearly 37,000 miles of the network.

On average, roads are only renewed every 70 years.

Last year, 1.7 million potholes were filled – the equivalent of one repair every 19 seconds.

However, experts warn that this is only a short-term solution and a complete renewal will ultimately be more cost-effective.

Road maintenance budgets increased 4% last year compared to 12 months earlier.

But the report says the proportion invested in the pavement itself has fallen and the reported backlog of pavement repairs has skyrocketed 23% from a year earlier.

The mini-budget takes place immediately after the Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons



Mr Green added: “The link between continued underinvestment and the continued structural deterioration and subpar surface conditions of our local roads is clear.

“The country’s ambitions to encourage active travel and reduce waste and carbon emissions will not be met with a short-term approach that cannot deliver a world-class local road network.”

Nicholas Lyes, head of road policy at the RAC, said the report “offers a sobering picture of the dire state of our local road network”.

He added: “Not only has the cost of addressing the backlog of defects increased significantly, but worryingly the report shows that roads are renewed on average only once every 70 years, with maintenance focused primarily on filling potholes , which is often the case is nothing more than a band-aid.”

Experts want more money to repair roads


Paul Gillis /

The AA said the study “shows a harsh reality where local road maintenance teams are battling a rising tide of road degradation.”

Jack Cousens, Head of Road Transport Policy, added: “It is unfortunate that more billions of pounds are needed to make our roads safer.

“Every year the road maintenance debate degenerates into a blame game between local authorities and the government as each claims it is the other’s responsibility to find a solution.

“Local and national governments need to come together and create a fully funded plan that will help make our streets safer.”

Local Government Association traffic spokesman David Renard said: “Despite the efforts of municipalities repairing a pothole every 19 seconds, these stark new numbers show our local road repair backlog is increasing.

“To close this growing backlog, municipalities need more government investment and certainty about future funding over the next decade.

“Roads are the most important transport infrastructure in the country.”

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “The Government is providing investment of more than £5 billion in motorway maintenance for local motorway authorities across England over the period 2020-2025.

“That’s enough to fill millions of potholes a year, repair dozens of bridges and resurface roads across the country.”

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