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Transport Select Committee launches inquiry into potholes

John Wood ·
a pot hole

The cross party Transport Select Committee has launched an inquiry into the funding and governance of local roads in England.

Chair of the Transport Committee, Lilian Greenwood MP, said: “Local roads are the arteries of prosperous and vibrant towns and cities. They are critical to the movement of goods as well as our own journeys. However, many people will not have to travel further than their local shops to see an extreme state of disrepair.

“This plague of potholes represents a major headache for all of us. The consequences of a deteriorating local road network are significant – undermining local economic performance and resulting in direct costs to motorists, through damage to road vehicles. The safety of other road users, particularly cyclists, is compromised.

“Our inquiry aims to investigate the situation in England, including current funding constraints and potential alternative models that could offer a solution. We know that this is a high priority issue among the public and I hope our inquiry will help put the onus on the Government to address it sooner rather than later.”

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “This inquiry will be welcomed by drivers who have to endure the dire state of our local roads on a daily basis. We know that more drivers are suffering breakdowns than 12 months ago – and potentially expensive damage – as a result of poor quality road surfaces. But the reality is that potholes are dangerous to all road users, particularly cyclists.

“By 2020, major roads – motorways and major A roads – will benefit from ring-fenced funds as a result of the ring-fencing of vehicle excise duty for this purpose. It is vitally important, both in terms of keeping communities connected and for the long-term economic health of the country, that local roads are given similar priority. The current approach with inadequate central funding topped up by emergency funding for ‘pothole filling’ on a regular basis, is not sustainable. We need the same long term strategic approach to fixing local roads that the government has implemented for maintain and developing the strategic road network.

“This week the RAC learned of a village in Shropshire which has effectively become cut off – not as result of something unpredictable like adverse weather, but as a result of the roads not being looked after. This, in 2018, is frankly shameful.

“We will be submitting evidence to the Transport Committee on behalf of our eight million members and not least our breakdown data which shows that in the first quarter of 2018 we saw the number of breakdown faults attributed to potholes was double compared to the same period in 2017 and drivers are now facing vehicle repair bills running into hundreds of million pounds.”

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