The condition of the local road network in England and Wales looks set to go from bad to worse as the decades of underfunding and increased traffic takes their toll.

The latest Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey, published by the Asphalt Industry Alliance, has found that the cost to bring the road network up to a reasonable standard would cost £11.8 billion and take 14 years to complete.

“Local highway authorities are increasingly adopting new asset management and preventative maintenance policies and examining all possible cost efficiencies in order to tackle the enormous challenge that faces them”, said Howard Robinson, chief executive of the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA). “The survey showed that over the last year local authorities filled in over 2 million potholes. However, despite their best efforts, the impact of decades of underfunding plus current and future budget restraints means that local roads will continue to deteriorate.”

The ALARM survey found that overall budgets for road maintenance have fallen by 16 per cent.

He continued: “Central government seems to be unable to understand that the local road network is the essential link to the national road network, rail stations, ports and airports. It is also the main means of access to people’s homes, to schools, hospitals and businesses. The indifference to the importance of a well maintained local road network is, quite frankly, staggering.”