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Budget pothole fund is ‘drop in the ocean’, says IAM RoadSmart

Yesterday’s Budget announcement of £420m to tackle Britain’s pothole crisis is a welcome move but the funds are merely a “drop in the ocean” to deal with a long-term and major issue.

So says IAM RoadSmart after the chancellor announced the cash injection for our beleaguered roads, alongside a £28.8bn fund to upgrade England’s motorways.

The funds include £25.5bn for Highways England for major road upgrades between 2020 and 2025 and an extra £3.5bn of funding allocated to major local routes, under the jurisdiction of local councils. The £420m for potholes is on top of an existing fund of almost £300m.

However, research carried out by the Asphalt Industry Alliance indicates a much bigger sum would be needed to get England’s roads fully functioning; the AIA has calculated that more than £8bn would be needed to carry out a one-time catch-up to bring local roads in England up to scratch.

And IAM Roadsmart also says the Budget pothole fund is not nearly enough for disillusioned drivers. The road safety charity carried out a survey three months ago of more than 7,000 of its members and found some 47% – more than 3,400 respondents – said they had experienced damage to their car, commercial vehicle, motorbike or bicycle or personal injury as a result of hitting a pothole.

Around 90% had spotted a deterioration of some level in the roads they use with just over 50% rating the state of their roads as ‘much worse’ in the past three years and 38% rating them ‘worse.’

Some 81% – close to 6,000 people – said they have noticed ‘many more’ potholes in the past three years; adding in the 13% who have seen ‘a few more’ gives a total of 94%.

More than 56% said they have to take avoiding action on every journey to dodge potholes, while 27% said they have to steer around a pothole every day.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “IAM RoadSmart welcomes the commitments to building more modern safe highways. What we really need to see however is the same long-term funding approach applied to potholes.

“Extra money is always welcome but when it arrives unpredictably for one year at a time it does little to help the long-term planning needed to really attack the pothole problems drivers and riders see and feel every day.”

Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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