by mikebell on 19 February, 2018
Liberal Democrat councillor Mike Bell is calling for the Conservative Government to reverse its funding cuts to North Somerset’s road maintenance budget and to tackle the difference in funding it provides for national and local roads, so that councils can tackle the £12 billion repair bill to bring our local roads up to scratch.
Across the country, national roads – motorways and major trunk roads – will receive 52 times more government funding per mile by 2020, compared to local roads maintained by councils.
New analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA) reveals the Government plans to spend £1.1 million per mile to maintain its strategic road network between 2015 and 2020. In comparison, it will provide councils with just £21,000 per mile for the local roads they maintain over the same period.
This is despite an increase in the number of cars travelling on local roads, average speeds falling and local roads making up 98 per cent of the country’s road network.
There are now 125 cars per mile on our roads compared to just 101 cars per mile in 2000. Councils say this is ratcheting up the pressure on local transport, causing congestion and road maintenance issues such as potholes, wear-down of road markings, and increasing general wear and tear.
Many people are now calling on the Government to deliver a radical new strategy to provide a fully-funded plan for the growing number of vehicles on the nation’s roads. The LGA believes this should include reinvesting two pence per litre of existing fuel duty into local road maintenance, which would generate £1 billion a year for councils to spend on improving roads and filling potholes.
Councillor Bell said: “Local Liberal Democrats will continue to fight for North Somerset Council to do more to fill in potholes on our local roads. The Government also needs to do far more to help councils with long term funding, to help motorists and cyclists up and down the country.
“The Conservative Government must reverse funding cuts to roads in North Somerset. It is also wrong that funding for local roads is miles behind that of the strategic road network. Very few journeys begin and end on a motorway or trunk road. Spending 52 times more on improving our national roads while starving local roads of investment will only serve to speed vehicles up between increased delays and congestion on local roads.
“Our local roads form vital arteries for our communities. But with almost 30 per cent more cars now on the nation’s roads than in 2000, they are under more pressure than ever before.”