Govt urged to invest more tax on road maintenance as car numbers soar

Written by: Simon Pavey, Last updated:28th May 2021

Worker in hi-vis apparel using a spade during road maintenance

The Local Government Association (LGA) has called for more money to be spent on road maintenance as the highways struggle to cope with the growing volume of traffic in Britain.

It quoted figures showing that an extra 3.6 million vehicles were licensed between 2009 and 2019, an increase of 13 per cent on the previous decade and enough to cover the entire length of the UK’s coastline.

However, at the same time, there was a 32 per cent drop in annual council spending on highways and road maintenance due to budget cuts and financial difficulties.

Spending 2p of tax could put roads right

Warning that the roads will simply be unable to cope if more and more demand is placed upon them, the LGA said it wants the government to commit in the upcoming budget to reinvesting 2p of current fuel duty in local roads maintenance.

It has also called for a five-year collective action plan on infrastructure spending to replace the piecemeal approach local authorities are faced with at present.

Indeed, back in January, the County Councils Network discovered that significantly less local authority funding is going towards repairing potholes in rural counties than is the case in urban areas, resulting in a postcode lottery for motorists.

LGA transport spokesperson councillor David Renard said: “The sheer volume of traffic on our roads has completely overtaken the amount councils are able to spend on local transport. Councils need long-term funding certainty and investment so they can … deliver a more resilient roads network.”

Ellie Baker, brand manager at Fuel Card Services, comments: “Many roads across the UK are simply crumbling before our eyes. Not only is this dangerous, but it’s also extremely costly for the businesses that rely on them each day. We would also urge the government to take action and spend some of our fuel tax in a positive way.”