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One in five local roads structurally poor

More than 24,400 miles of roads need essential repair in the next year, a new survey has revealed.

The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey has found it would now take 14 years for councils to get local roads back into a reasonable state, at a cost of £9.31bn.

The survey, produced by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), also showed that the gap between the funding each local authority received and how much they need to maintain local roads is now £3.3m per authority.

Rick Green, chairman of the AIA, said: ‘Although local authorities report an increase in average highway maintenance budgets this year, looking back over the last decade they have barely kept in line with inflation. This is reflected in road condition, with one in five of our local roads now classed as structurally poor – with less than five years’ life remaining – compared with one in six reported last year.

‘Local roads are a vital asset, worth in the region of £400bn, and they support all aspects of our daily work and home lives. But funding for their adequate maintenance has fallen short for so many years that further deterioration is inevitable.’

In response, cllr Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, said: 'Careful and efficient management of our roads by councils has seen some progress being made into tackling the backlog of road repairs. However, increasing traffic levels, and more cars on our roads, together with continuing extreme winter weather conditions means that government needs to keep funding of local roads as a priority in its spending plans.

'Only long-term and consistent investment in local road maintenance can allow councils to embark on the widespread improvement of our roads that is desperately needed, to the benefit of all road users up and down the country, including cyclists.'