Why are the roads in the UK so bad?

road cones
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  • Pot holes, bad road surfaces and worn road markings have become expected on any roads that are not trunk or motorway roads. Surely it must be easy for the Government to upkeep our roads with all the money they get from fuel duty and taxes? Well, it’s not actually that simple

    Pot holes can cause serious damage to your vehicle’s tyres, making you wonder why the Government can’t just come along and fill them in. I mean, surely they don’t cost that much to fix?

    But it’s not the Government who are in charge of fixing problems across national roads; it’s the local authorities who look after that district. And it has recently been uncovered that the Government will be getting 52 times more funding to look after trunk and motorway roads than local authorises by 2020.

    Highlighted by the Local Government Association (LGA), they have found that the Government is getting £1.1 million per mile to uphold its strategic road network, while councils are only getting £21,000 per mile to upkeep their local roads. In response, the councils are calling for the Government to provide them with a fully-funded plan to cater for the growing number of cars on the roads, and to provide 2p per mile from fuel duty to upkeep local road maintenance. This money would generate £1 billion a year for councils to spend on improving roads and filling potholes.

    Martin Tett from the LGA said: "Very few journeys begin and end on a motorway or trunk road,” He explained that "Councils are fixing a pothole every 19 seconds despite funding pressures. They want to do more but are trapped in an endless cycle of patching up our deteriorating network. It would already take £12 billion and more than a decade for councils to clear the current local roads repair backlog.”

    There is anger that the Government is not handing funding down to local authorises, despite an increase in the number of cars travelling on local roads, average speeds falling and local roads making up 98 per cent of the country’s road network.

    However, in July, 2017, transport secretary Chris Grayling, announced that a possible ‘bypass fund’ could be available to local authorities from 2020. The money held by the National Roads Fund was originally going to be spent on motorways and major A-roads managed by Highways England. However, Grayling announced that some of it should be diverted to be spent on roads run by local authorities.

    The strategy aims at  reassessing road programmes on how they contribute to creating a more geographically balanced economy, increase productivity or growth and tackle congestion.

    You can find upcoming roadworks across the highways network here [roads highway], or to find upcoming road works in your county, your local authority should highlight anything significant on their own website.