The Labour Party has said it will fix what it has dubbed ‘Pothole Britain’ by creating a £300M fund to mend 6m more potholes. But the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) said the money is not enough and called for an urgent funding rethink to tackle the growing backlog of road repairs.
Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, Michael Dugher, said: “Hard-pressed road users have quite rightly had enough of having their vehicles and bikes damaged because of Britain’s pothole crisis.
“The Tories and Lib Dems have set out plans that will see spending on our local roads fall over the next Parliament. Labour has a better plan to fix Pothole Britain – we will boost spending on local roads over the next five years. The extra investment, which is fully funded, will mean we’ll be able to fill in six million extra potholes.”
But CECA chief executive Alasdair Reisner said: “Councils estimate that £12 billion worth of repairs are needed in England alone to bring the network up to scratch. This growing backlog of work must trigger an urgent rethink of the way repairs are funded.
“A one-off programme of intensive improvements to local roads would significantly reduce the long-term cost of maintaining the network. But there is a need for a new funding model to tackle highways maintenance once and for all,” he added.
He called for wider use of ‘prudential borrowing’ and also the consideration of funding from private finance models and local authority reserves.