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Road condition surveys paint contrasting pictures

Britain's roads are either improving fast or getting ever worse according to two new, contrasting reports on the state of network.

A survey of 17,500 AA members says road surfaces are in a worse state than they were 10 years ago while new statistics from the Department for Transport (DfT) show that the condition of local roads is improving.

In the AA/Populus Panel survey published last week, 40% of respondents said the condition of the road network was much worse than 10 years ago while only 2% thought road conditions had improved.

"Britain's motorists are paying record levels of taxation and yet receive poor value for money," said AA president Edmund King.

He added that road maintenance funding still needed a major boost despite increases in recent years.

"These findings come as a stark reminder that, despite extra government funding for road maintenance at the start of the decade, the cash is nowhere near enough for drivers to see improvements in road condition."

The DfT report on local roads says that condition of the network has improved every year since 2000 when funding started to increase again.

Principal roads have improved from a defects index of 121.2 in 2000 to 71.3 in built up areas and 91.5 to 70.9 in non built up areas.

Classified roads from 133.5 in 2000 to 91.8 in built up areas and from 96.5 to 87.5 in non built up areas and unclassified roads from 112.6 to 97.9 in built up areas and 133 to 117.7 in non built up areas.

"Things have definitely improved on principal roads but on unclassified roads we are still really struggling," said Devon County Council environment director Ed Chorlton.

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