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Public loses faith in UK's road network

Public satisfaction with the state of our roads and highways has dropped for the third consecutive quarter according to the latest public service satisfaction survey, released today by the ICE.

The survey, which monitors change in attitudes to key public services in the UK, showed that only 54% of respondents are satisfied with the current state of the UK’s roads and highways. This has slipped down from 58% per cent in the last quarter and 62% in the quarter before.

The survey also showed:

  • 65% are satisfied with the standard of public transport services (down from 66% in Q2)
  • 73% are satisfied with electricity and gas supply to their homes (down from 81% in Q2)
  • 74% are satisfied with rubbish and waste disposal services (down from 78% in Q2)
  • 63% are satisfied with the provision of flood defences (down from 71% in Q2)
  • 84% are satisfied with drinking water and sewage services (down from 92% in Q2).

When asked which services are the priorities for more investment, the disposal of rubbish and waste just topped the list with 39% putting this as their first or second investment priority. Roads and highways came a close second with 37% listing this in their top two areas in need of investment, compared to 50% in the last quarter.

Next in line was public transport with 36% favouring more investment in this area. Drinking water and sewage also crept up the public’s investment priority list in this quarter with 33% putting this in their top two priorities, up from 24% in the previous quarter.

ICE’s director general, Tom Foulkes said: “You cannot blame the public for becoming more dissatisfied and frustrated with the state of our roads and highways.

With an estimated £1bn road maintenance backlog, there are too many roads that have been in need of proper repair for a long time and are deteriorating further by the day.

“Funding for maintenance tends to focus on quick-fix reactive work which rarely tackles the underlying cause of damage and fails to prolong the life of the road.

It is also costly as it usually needs to be repeated regularly. The focus needs to be on planned, preventative maintenance programmes that provide better value for money and long term solutions.

“Government appears to have recognised our roads as a national asset yet its funding decisions are standing in the way of the kind of investment that is vital for motorists, commuters, businesses, freight carriers and our economy.

“What is really needed is a secure and predictable source of funding for planned road maintenance projects and other infrastructure projects that are vital to our future wellbeing, perhaps via the creation of a National Infrastructure Investment Bank. The ICE has been pushing the case for this for some time and will continue to do so.”

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