Cautious welcome for pothole cash

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Government plans to make available an extra £100 million for road repairs has received a cautious welcome from industry organisations.

“This news is good for all road users but in particular for road transport operators,” said chief executive Richard Burnett.

“We understand that the money will help repair almost two million potholes. The cost to road hauliers for repairs to damaged suspension systems and increased tyre wear for example, is already considerable.

But, said Burnett: “Local councils must acknowledge that the problem extends well beyond the main roads. Many distribution centres are based on large industrial estates for which the access roads are not part of the strategic road network. The need for these side roads to be maintained is equally important in maintaining the viability of local businesses and the regional economy.”

“Any funding which aims to improve the state of the nation’s roads is welcomed,” said Christopher Snelling, head of UK policy at FTA, “but after years of chronic underinvestment, road maintenance has lagged behind what is required to keep our highways in top condition. The recent spell of cold weather has exacerbated problems which have been ignored for years, and the neglect of the road network has left many roads in a dangerous state for all road users.

“The fact that HGV taxes alone almost pay for the whole of UK road maintenance also shows that Britain still does not support the quality of the roads well enough. Whether it is potholes, road closures or long-running road works, we all suffer when the roads do not work as they should. Congestion is bad for the environment as well as the economy. The UK Government should provide for more spending by Highways England and our local authorities to ensure the roads are fit for purpose,” said Snelling.

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