Rotherham second in resurfacing ‘estate roads’ in the country, data reveals
Researchers also found that only Tower Hamlets did a larger proportion of resurfacing, at 13.8 per cent (21 miles of its 152-mile network), in that period.
Councillor Chris Read, the leader of Rotherham Council, told the Local Democracy Service that the council had made “a big commitment a few years ago to improve the quality of the borough’s roads using the council’s resources”.
He added it was “great to see it come to fruition” after allocating and spending £24million on – mostly – estate roads, the “so-called unclassified network”.
Cllr Read said: “At the last election Labour candidates promised to halve the number of potholes in Rotherham’s roads. We backed that commitment up with an additional £24 million of investment and hundreds of local roads have been resurfaced as a result.
“We knew that local estate roads were in the worst condition especially when compared to national averages which is why we needed to prioritise them, but these latest figures from the RAC also show us resurfacing more A roads than most other places as well.
“It’s really pleasing to see in these numbers that we’ve been able to do more than almost anywhere else in the country. In contrast, the Conservative government has repeatedly cut the national budget for road resurfacing.
“When Rishi Sunak was Chancellor the government funding reduced by £400 million, putting even more pressure back onto already stretched council budgets.”
RAC’s 2021/2022 figures show just 1,123 miles of all types of road were resurfaced compared to 1,588 in 2017/2018 – this equates to a 29% reduction (465 miles).
The figures come as the RAC renews its call for the Government to change the way it funds local roads’ maintenance, ideally by ringfencing a proportion of the money raised through fuel duty to give councils the certainty of having longer-term funding that ultimately enables them to get all the roads in their control into a better overall condition.
RAC head of policy Simon Williams said: “These figures paint an incredibly stark picture of road maintenance in England and confirm our worst fears about the overall decline in the state of the country’s roads.
“While the Government has made more money available to authorities to fill potholes, it’s the general reduction in road improvement work that’s causing potholes to appear in the first place.
“It’s abundantly clear that councils in so many areas are barely scratching the surface when it comes to getting their roads up to a reasonable standard, and indeed the fact that such a large proportion haven’t done any surface dressing or resurfacing at all over a 12-month period really does say it all.
“Resurfacing is expensive but for some roads, this will be the only course of action as they have fallen into such bad condition that nothing else can save them.
“Having said that, we urge authorities to make greater use of surface dressing and other preventative treatments which can be used successfully to improve surfaces and extend the lives of roads.”