The APPG for Better Roads are calling for central Government to reinstate effective ring-fencing and multi-year settlements for local road maintenance. Evidence and proposals presented by the APPG are aligned with MAG’s own Resurface Our Roads campaign.
MAG’s Director of Campaigns & Political Engagement, Colin Brown, was invited to attend the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Better Roads AGM and launch of the 2023 ‘Working for better roads’ report. MAG is campaigning for increased funding and an effective national approach to reversing the decline in the quality of the UK’s local roads network.
Poorly maintained road surfaces have been shown by MAG to contribute to an average of 74 motorcyclist deaths and serious injuries every year.
The APPG report demonstrates that the Pothole Action Fund (2015/16-2020/21) was a successful policy. Ring-fencing led to a marked improvement in the proportion of the local network classed as being in a ‘good condition’ with 7% of the English local road network moving into this category during the life of the Fund.
In contrast, since 2021 when the Pothole Action Fund was incorporated into councils’ general block highway funding from the Department for Transport (DfT), the number of roads classed as ‘good’ has gone into reverse. The APPG report points to data that shows there are now 5% fewer miles of English local roads in good condition.
Sir Christopher Chope MP, Chair of the APPG for Better Roads said:
“Both the Prime Minister and the Chancellor have pledged to tackle the ‘plague of potholes’ on our local roads. But, as this report shows, funding for local road maintenance is falling and the Government’s assumption that hard pressed local authorities will spend allocations on roads is not enough.
“The roll-out of autonomous vehicles and decarbonising transport will place even greater funding pressure on our local road network in the years ahead. That’s why we are calling for a Better Roads Fund to be created with longer term funding commitments, budget ring-fencing and full transparency on allocation.
“This Better Roads Fund would help deliver a sustained improvement in road conditions and enhanced network resilience. It would also save money over the long term and ensure our local roads are able to support the challenges ahead.”
Speaking after the launch Colin Brown said:
“I fully support the proposed Better Roads Fund proposals. For motorcyclists in particular the declining state of our local road network presents and increasing threat to life. We have a clear case of funding policy changes in 2021 reversing any hope of improvement. It is time to move forward not slide further back.
“I was particularly disappointed that the Roads Minister, Richard Holden, did not attend the launch and will be writing to him on this and other matters. We will continue our Resurface Our Roads campaign, and lobby MP’s asking them to read the report and support these proposals from the APPG for Better Roads.”