The AA is calling on the government to ring-fence a proportion of fuel duty for road surface improvements after it found that motorists think local roads are not well maintained.
The motoring organisation’s poll of more than 17,000 people found that just 15% thought local roads were maintained to a high standard, with that number falling to just 10% in the north-west of England and 13% in Scotland.
In comparison, 66% of those questioned said the motorway network is well maintained and 31% thought major A-roads were well kept. Almost 72% said this was because local road maintenance was overlooked in favour of motorways and trunk roads.
And the perception appears to be backed up by the numbers, as arterial routes such as government spending on local roads fell by 10.6 percent during the last financial year.
The AA’s president, Edmund King, said the government should solve the problem by ring-fencing 2p of fuel duty from every litre of petrol to spend on fixing the country’s torn tarmac.
‘Road users are getting more and more frustrated with the state of local roads, with moon-like craters troubling drivers, cyclists and motorcyclists on a daily basis,’ he said. ‘From 2020, all income from VED will be spent on maintaining our motorways and major roads, but there is already a £12 billion black hole which local councils need to fill just to get England’s local roads up to scratch.
‘As a starting point, the government could heed the AA’s calls by retaining the freeze on fuel duty, but ring-fence 2 pence per litre from the revenue and hand it straight to councils solely to fix local roads. This would give councils a pot of £1 billion. On a local level, councils could release fines income back to the roads they were plundered from.’