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Road satisfaction rate plummets

Only a third of people are satisfied with the quality of the UK’s roads, according to a survey from the ICE.

The 32% satisfaction figure compares with 62% who were happy with the roads when the ICE polls started in December 2008.

The latest figure is also well down on the 50% satisfaction figure in a survey covering the last three months of 2010.

Today’s poll, of 2,050 adults, also showed that satisfaction with public transport services had fallen from 63% in the last three months of last year to 52% now.

The ICE said much of the dissatisfaction with the roads was due to the proliferation of potholes caused by the severe early-winter weather.

ICE vice president Geoff French said: “The [government’s] extra £200M recently made available to help with road repairs is very welcome, though unfortunately this doesn’t equate to much when spread across a large number of authorities and won’t make much of a dent in the huge annual budget deficit.

“The funding shortfall inevitably leads to a maintenance backlog and puts councils under immense pressure to deal with the problem.

“This leads to ‘quick fix’ maintenance that fails to tackle the root of the problem, leading to more work and expense for local authorities down the line, and more frustration for the public.”

French went on: “Planned, preventative maintenance that lasts is needed to ensure our roads are resilient against the winter weather conditions we are seeing now and is more cost-effective in the long term.

“But in these austere times, we know it is difficult to fund this approach. Local authorities must therefore have a coherent and transparent strategy for how to best deal with the situation in their area given the financial constraints.”

The survey also showed:

  • 72% were satisfied with electricity and gas supply to homes, compared with 78% in the October-December fourth quarter (Q4) of 2010;
  • 67% were satisfied with rubbish and waste disposal services, down from 80% in Q4 2010;
  • 52% were satisfied with the provision of flood defences, down from 61% in Q4 2010;
  • 80% were satisfied with drinking water and sewage services, down from 91% in Q4 2010.

Local transport minister Norman Baker said: “Despite the current severe fiscal restraints, we are providing £3bn to councils for road maintenance over the next four years and an additional £6M for longer-term strategies.

“On top of this, we are exceptionally providing an extra windfall of £200M to repair potholes on the local road network following the severe winter weather at the end of last year.

“It, however, remains the responsibility of local councils to plan and manage their road maintenance programmes throughout the year, including appropriate winter resilience measures.”

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