The Transport Committee has announced a new inquiry into the funding and governance of local roads in England.
RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “This inquiry will be welcomed by drivers who have to endure the dire state of our local roads on a daily basis. We know that more drivers are suffering breakdowns than 12 months ago – and potentially expensive damage – as a result of poor quality road surfaces. But the reality is that potholes are dangerous to all road users, particularly cyclists.
“By 2020, major roads – motorways and major A roads – will benefit from ring-fenced funds as a result of the ring-fencing of vehicle excise duty for this purpose. It is vitally important, both in terms of keeping communities connected and for the long-term economic health of the country, that local roads are given similar priority. The current approach with inadequate central funding topped up by emergency funding for ‘pothole filling’ on a regular basis, is not sustainable. We need the same long term strategic approach to fixing local roads that the government has implemented for maintain and developing the strategic road network.
“This week the RAC learned of a village in Shropshire which has effectively become cut off – not as result of something unpredictable like adverse weather, but as a result of the roads not being looked after. This, in 2018, is frankly shameful.”
The village concerned is Priest Weston, where local councillors told the media that they suspect most of the road repair budget is being spent in urban areas. The photos accompanying the story show a broken surface which is extremely haxardous to cyclists, motorcycle or scooter riders, and owners of low clearance, sports cars and coupes. Not everyone living in rural Britain can afford a Land Rover or similar raised 4X4 vehicle to navigate pot-holed roads and lanes.
The RAC wants to see urgent action taken to repair rural roads, and help save motorists from footing the bill when it comes to damaged suspension, and risking potential accidents due to the poor grip offered by broken roads during emergency braking.
“We will be submitting evidence to the Transport Committee on behalf of our eight million members and not least our breakdown data which shows that in the first quarter of 2018 we saw the number of breakdown faults attributed to potholes was double compared to the same period in 2017 and drivers are now facing vehicle repair bills running into hundreds of million pounds.”