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Road repairs 'cost taxpayers £70M'

Councils are being left to foot the bill as contractors fail to carry out road repairs properly, it has been claimed.

The Local Government Association said botched streetworks are costing council taxpayers £70M every year as contractors digging up roads on behalf of utility companies are failing to patch them up.

Of the two million works in England and Wales last year, around 360,000 were not completed to the agreed specification, the LGA said.

In many cases, the work overran or the roads were not restored to their original condition, creating a trail of tailbacks and expensive repairs.

The LGA wants councils to be given stronger powers to ensure roadworks are timed to cause minimum disruption to motorists and to guarantee that roads are repaired properly one the work is completed.

LGA economic and transport board chairman Peter Box said: “Contractors should not be allowed to get away with botching road repairs and then leaving council taxpayers to foot the bill.

“Roadworks are a pet hate of all motorists. Many would no doubt be surprised to learn that most road closures don’t even result in the condition of roads improving and many actually make them worse.”

He went on: “Councils face the joint challenge of managing the toughest spending cuts in living memory and tackling a £10.5bn backlog in road maintenance.

“It is only right that companies which drill and dig up our roads pay their fair share towards fixing the damage.”

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