Potholes on the rise20 Mar 2018

Survey says 24,000 miles of local roads need essential maintenance

The annual ALARM Survey of local highways authorities in England and Wales suggests that 24,000 miles of local roads face closure in the next 12 months without repair.

The report by the Asphalt Industry Alliance also reveals that:

92 years – average time before a road is resurfaced in England (31 years in London; 71 years in Wales)

£9.31 billion – estimated one-time cost to get roads back into reasonable condition

£3.4 million per authority – average annual carriageway maintenance budget shortfall in England

14 years – time needed to clear the backlog across local authorities in England and Wales

Responding to the report Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said:

“The road network is as much a vital utility as the energy, water and telecoms systems and yet is seems we continue to take it for granted.

“It is easy to understand why our roads are literally fraying at the edges – the wear and tear from the massive growth in traffic has far outstripped the capacity of local highway authorities to keep pace. After WWII there were two million cars in Great Britain, now there are more than 30 million. Meanwhile trucks have got bigger and heavier too.

“The steady erosion in the standard of roads mirrors an erosion in spending. In the last financial year English councils spent £934 million on routine road maintenance, down a third, in real terms, over the past eight years.

“Maintenance goes beyond filling in potholes. Councils need to ensure that signs are obscured by vegetation and that road markings haven’t worn away; blocked drainage can lead to flooding, streetlights need to be working, and highway bridges need to be structurally sound. Our analysis shows that almost 3,500 structures and spans are so-called substandard and these alone would require one-off expenditure of £1 billion to bring them all back up to scratch.”



Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation

[email protected] | 020 7747 3445 | 07711 776448 | 020 7389 0601 (ISDN)

Notes to editors:

The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users.

The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist.

All the Foundation’s work is available on its website: