Haulage firms welcome Government’s £100m financial boost to fix UK potholes

Haulage firms welcome Government’s £100m financial boost to fix UK potholes

The UK government is set to provide an extra £100m to repair the potholes found on roads up and down the country following unusually cold weather this winter. Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has set aside this money to assist in the repair of nearly two million potholes, as well as to help protect the roads from any more harsh weather damage in future.

The extra funds are in addition to £75m in government funding already given to councils from the Pothole Action Fund this year, as well as the additional £46m boost for highways authorities which was announced in December 2017. The Government is also investing more than £900,000 in connected vehicles which are designed to help councils manage and plan maintenance works more efficiently. The aim of these trials is to ultimately provide councils with the data needed for them to repair potholes before they occur. Last year, the Department for Transport (DfT) also announced that high-definition cameras will be fitted to refuse lorries in order to detect and record the location of potholes more easily as well.

A reduction in the number of potholes is great news for all drivers, after all no one wants to be forever dodging them in their attempts to get to work or out to see family. However it’s particularly welcomed by haulage firms who use the road network, including the motorway system, as their workplace, as the cost to road hauliers for repairs to damaged suspension systems and increased tyre wear is already substantial. Many distribution centres are also based on large industrial estates and the access roads for these are usually not part of the strategic road network. The need for these side roads to be maintained is important in strengthening the viability of local businesses and the regional economy, and this financial boost is certainly hoped to help with that.

The announcement comes after the annual Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) study highlighted the issue of the unacceptable state of UK roads. Worryingly, it’s been found that around 20% of both dual and single carriageways in England and Wales have less than five years of life remaining before they can no longer be used. This represents more than 40,000 miles of road. Further still, spending on roads maintenance is deemed to be far short of the amount that’s required. Indeed, the deficit between what local authorities in England and Wales received to keep carriageways in “reasonable order” and what they actually needed was £556m in 2017/18.

Whilst haulage firms and the general public alike feel that the Government has recognised and acted on the need to address the UK pothole issue, this positivity is tinged with the concern that the funding announced will only provide just over 1% of what is actually needed to deal with the current £9.3bn local roads repair backlog. It seems abundantly clear that a longer term funding solution for our roads is needed urgently so that sustainable progress can be made.