The Transport Select Committee has launched a new inquiry into the funding and governance of local roads in England.
Local roads make up around 98% of the total road network length and carry two-thirds of motor traffic, however they receive much less cash than the strategic network per mile and stuck in a mire of complicated and inefficient funding arrangements.
The situation has been compounded by austerity, which has seen roads funding cut back in many councils.
In a recent AA-Populus Driver Poll of more than 17,000 drivers, only 15% said that local roads are maintained to a high standard, while according to Cycling UK, potholes have been a contributory factor in 22 deaths and 368 serious injuries to cyclists since 2007.
According to the latest Asphalt Industry Association (AIA) ALARM survey, English councils have cut road re-surfacing on average for all classes of road from once every 55 years to once every 92 years.
Chair of the Transport Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, said: 'This plague of potholes represents a major headache for all of us. The consequences of a deteriorating local road network are significant – undermining local economic performance and resulting in direct costs to motorists, through damage to road vehicles. The safety of other road users, particularly cyclists, is compromised.
'Our inquiry aims to investigate the situation in England, including current funding constraints and potential alternative models that could offer a solution. We know that this is a high priority issue among the public and I hope our inquiry will help put the onus on the Government to address it sooner rather than later.'
The Committee calls for written evidence on:
- The condition of local roads in England and how they have fared over time, particularly compared with other parts of England’s road network;
- The direct and wider economic and social costs of not maintaining local roads;
- The quality of monitoring and reporting of local road conditions;
- Whether the current approach to maintenance of local roads is appropriate and whether it needs to be improved;
- The suitability of governance structures for maintaining local roads and whether any changes are required;
- The funding requirements of local roads and the suitability of current funding streams for the immediate and longer-term future;
- Whether there is a role for alternative funding models for local roads maintenance and investment; and
- The regional distribution of local roads funding across England.
Written submissions to the inquiry can be made via the evidence portal on the Committee’s website. The deadline is 2 October 2018.