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Scottish road backlog hits £2.25bn

Over a third of Scotland’s roads are in an unacceptable condition while the maintenance backlog for repairs now runs to £2.25bn, according to a new report.

An Audit Scotland brief published today has revealed the condition of roads is worsening and public satisfaction is decreasing, despite an overall increase in public spending on road maintenance.

It has called on the Scottish Government to consider a national review of how Scotland’s road network is managed and maintained.

The report comes after the government’s Budget reduced trunk road maintenance funding by 20% from £133M to £107M for 2010/11. Local government budgets have also been reduced by 4%.

Auditor general for Scotland Robert Black said: “The pattern of spending and scale of backlog means that the value of these public assets is not being sustained.

“By deferring essential expenditure on infrastructure, public bodies are storing up problems for the future and passing a greater burden onto generations to come.”

The report − which examines progress on implementing the recommendations made in a previous audit published in 2004 − found only 63% of the country’s roads are in acceptable condition.

The cost of the maintenance backlog has also increased by £1bn to £2.25bn since 2004.

This represents the amount Transport Scotland and local authorities would need to spend to fix all road defects.

In 2009/10, £654M was spent on maintaining roads − £162M went on trunk roads and £492M was spent on local roads − which represents an increase of £32M on spending in 2004/05.

Readers' comments (2)

  • Quite agree, I had over £500 worth of damage done to my car after I lost an argument with a pothole. Council paid out over 90% of my costs. Fixing the pothole would have cost them less.

    I'm also just about to buy 1 more years worth of Road FUND Licence TAX, the cost of which has increased yet the amount spent on the roads has decreased. Please explain that one....

    Just have a look here, Scottish Local Authorities are near the top.

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  • Andrew
    you make the incorrect, but common, assumption that Vehicle Excise Duty is ring-fenced for use in the construction and maintenance of our road infrastructure. This hasn't been the case for many decades. Funds generated from VED go directly into general taxation in the same way that your income tax does. Government then decides how those funds should be allocated for expenditure. Incidentally, VED is a tax on owning a car and not on using roads which is why cyclists, equestrians and pedestrians are permitted to use the roads without paying tax.

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