ARE MOTORISTS HEADING FOR A WINTER OF DISCONTENT?
As we head into winter, it seems that the budget for improving road quality has been cut dramatically but how much will the realignment of budgets affect the quality and quantity of the essential road maintenance needed to keep our roads in good shape?
Research by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has revealed that Â£1.2 billion has been cut from road maintenance budgets over the last four years, following a review of government spending in 2010.
It has also been suggested that the cuts have been made to better prepare the government for ‘unforeseen’ events, which can cover a range of scenarios from cold snaps through to the severe flooding we experienced in February 2014.
Since the cuts have come into place, an additional Â£1.1 billion has been spent to help manage nine separate â€˜unforeseen eventsâ€™ that have required urgent investment in order to help keep the roads open. Although critically important, this fluctuating expenditure has left councils less able to budget for the road maintenance needed in their local communities.
The poor state of British roads is costing businesses and the government alike; in the last two years alone, there have been compensation charges of Â£31m for damage to vehicles by potholes, even though to fix a pothole only costs around Â£50. The Department of Transport has responded by stating that they were ‘absolutely committed to tackling potholes on local roads’, yet there is public concern that still not enough is being done to maintain existing roads or on preventive strategies.
Itâ€™s not all bad news, we have also been promised 962 miles of new roads to cope with the significant increase in traffic thatâ€™s expected in years to come.Â This will help alleviate pressure points or bottle necks on the road network.
With more than 700 of our commercial drivers out on the road each week, every day we see the importance of having roads effectively maintained to ensure not only the secure delivery of goods but the safety of our drivers and others.Â Letâ€™s hope this latest budget cut wonâ€™t lead to a winter of discontent for drivers.