LGA: Road funding drop this year could pay for 9.5 million pothole repairs

The Government’s £2.5 billion Pothole Repair Fund - announced in the Budget - will help councils to do more to maintain our roads this year and will go a long way to help tackling our local road repairs backlog.


Pothole in the rain

Councils could repair more than 9.5 million extra potholes with the funding lost from local road maintenance budgets this year, analysis by the Local Government Association reveals today.

Overall capital funding allocated to councils for local road maintenance this year by the Department for Transport is £1.39 billion – down from £1.78 billion in 2020/21. This represents a £400 million (22 per cent) reduction on the year before.

With the average cost of repairing a pothole being just over £40, this is enough to carry out more than 9.5 million road repairs – the equivalent to 64,000 repairs in each local council area.

Fixing our roads is a top priority for councils. Despite the pandemic, councils have been working hard to repair our roads, fixing a pothole every 19 seconds as well as supporting an increase in other infrastructure through temporary road measures.

The Government’s £2.5 billion Pothole Repair Fund - announced in the Budget - will help councils to do more to maintain our roads this year and will go a long way to help tackling our local road repairs backlog.

The LGA is urging the Government to also restore this highways maintenance funding so councils can continue to keep roads well maintained and address the almost £11 billion backlog in local road repairs.

Cllr David Renard, Transport spokesperson for the LGA said:

The ability of councils to improve local transport connectivity and infrastructure, including upgrades to local bus, road and cycle infrastructure, is critical to government ambitions to level up the country and support our long-term economic recovery from the pandemic.

“Councils are on the side of motorists, and are working hard to keep our roads safe and resilient, repairing potholes as quickly as they can. However, it would take £11 billion and more than a decade for councils to clear the current local roads repair backlog, with the cancellation of important planned works risking extending this backlog further.

“With long-term and consistent investment in local road maintenance, councils can help government by embarking on the widespread improvement of our roads that is desperately needed, to the benefit of all road users up and down the country, including cyclists.”

Notes to editors

1. The pothole repair statistics are based on the latest ALARM 2021 Road Repair survey, which estimates that a planned pothole repair costs a local council in England £41.61 to carry out on average.

2. The Department for Transport (DfT) council allocation of £500 million for highways maintenance in 2021/22. This is the second of five equal instalments from the £2.5 billion Potholes Fund, providing £500 million a year between 2020/21 and 2024/25, announced by the Chancellor in the 2020 Budget. In the same announcement it was confirmed that that overall capital funding for local road maintenance this year will be £1.39 billion – down from £1.78 billion in 2020/21.