A ‘golden opportunity’ to catch up on much-needed road repairs has been missed, according to the RAC.
The breakdown service was reacting to a new Government report that shows the number of roads managed by local authorities that are marked as needing repairs has held steady for the past two years.
The report shows that four per cent of A roads were categorised as needing repairs, which is the same as 2019/20, itself a slight increase on the year before.
For B and C roads, six per cent need repairs, which is the same proportion as the past five years following a steady decline from 2011/12.
In the report, the Government notes that the coronavirus pandemic ‘has had a wide impact since March 2020, and figures should be considered within this context’. It says this affected the availability of specialists to arrange and conduct maintenance.
However, the RAC says the reduced traffic levels seen during lockdowns would have provided a good opportunity to work on the roads with less disruption.
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Given that most roads looked after by councils are minor ones, it’s hugely concerning – and rather disappointing – that an increasing proportion are ear-marked for maintenance, particularly with so many already in need of repair.
“What’s more, unclassified roads in more rural areas tend to have poor safety records compared to their major road counterparts, so crumbling infrastructure only adds to the risks faced by both drivers and cyclists.
“We had hoped that the fact so few people were using the roads last year because of the pandemic would have given councils a golden opportunity to catch up on much-needed road repairs. Sadly, this data appears to show there’s still a huge amount to be done.
“Given the vast sums drivers pay in taxes every year, it’s only reasonable for them to expect all roads to be in a good condition.”
Traffic estimates released earlier this year show that traffic fell by 27 per cent during the pandemic, with car traffic specifically dropping 31 per cent.