Half of Britain’s drivers believe the country’s roads are in a worse state now than they were a year ago.

According to the latest RAC Report on Motoring, the equivalent of 20 million motorists have seen a decline in conditions on local roads, with potholes and other surface damage causing the most concern.

As a result, more than three-quarters want to see funding set aside specifically to address the issue.

The annual study also found a clear split between town and country, and between local roads and motorways and major A roads.

While half of drivers are still dissatisfied the report represents an improvement on last year when 66% said conditions had got worse. Overall this year, 49% of drivers said that the condition of local roads had deteriorated in the last 12 months, 40% though there had been no change and just 11% thought there had been an improvement.

But in rural areas 58% reported a drop in conditions while 38% of town and city-dwellers agreed. Just over half of those living in the suburbs (52%) had seen a decline.

There was also a clear divide by region, with motorists in the East Midlands the most likely to think roads had worsened (63.7%). Close behind them came drivers in Scotland (57.6%) and England’s North West (57%), while London bucked the trend, with just 28.7% seeing a decline and 25% reporting an improvement.

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, commented: “The state of our roads is always one of the biggest bugbears for drivers. This year our research findings showed a third of drivers we surveyed listed the condition and maintenance of local roads as one of their top four concerns from a list of 20 motoring issues.

“Despite data from our patrols revealing fewer of the breakdowns they have attended this year have been related to pothole damage, it seems that drivers still feel that road surfaces are not as good as they should be. Those living in rural areas definitely feel more hard done by, perhaps because they rely on their cars more than those in towns and cities so they are more inclined to notice defects that hinder their journeys.

“There is also a very clear divide between opinions about the condition of local roads and motorways and dual carriageways, with local roads appearing to be in a far worse state than their major road counterparts. This points towards the difference in the way both are funded, with only major roads having certainty of funding from central government.”

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