John Lennon may well have sung about the “4000 holes in Blackburn Lancashire” but it seems the entire countries roads are full of holes and whilst the authorities don’t know “how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall”, new research suggests that its likely to cost over £13 billion pounds to fill them up.
Last winter was pretty bad and it coincided with the new governments funding squeeze where millions was cut from the road maintenance budge resulting in around 73% of local authorities being forced to cut the amount they spend on repairs and as a result “we’ve got potholes” we shouldn’t have.
The Labour Party have warned that repairing these holes could cost a massive £13 billion and that’s one heck of a lot of money, any way you cut it and according to Shadow Transport Minister John Woodcock, the situation is only going to get worse, as the Tory-led government has no serious long term plan to get our roads back into shape.
Apparently, motorists and cyclists are already furious that ministers have promised to give councils extra money to repair the potholes, when in fact, all they have done is give back a fraction of the £432 million pounds they had already axed from the road maintenance budgets.
Data was provided from 111 local authorities and that’s 73% of the ones responsible for highway maintenance and 40% of them were able to provide estimates for the backlog of work they still have to do, which totalled £5.36 billion and if you translated that across all of the councils, you could come up with the horrendous £13 billion repair bill.
Seventeen local authorities admit to repair backlogs of more than £100 million or more, which they don’t have the funds to make good and for some, such as Devon County Council, that backlog is as much as £450 million.
So guys, we spend an enormous amount of money running our vehicles in terms of road tax (which can be up to £1000 on some cars), we pay for fuel, which the government takes a fortune in taxes from, but it seems the government would rather spend that going to war, or propping up some other countries failing economy, rather than put it back into the very infrastructure they earn the cash from in the first place.
This isn’t just a case of cosmetics, or giving us all a smoother ride, its one of safety and responsibility and surely, if you do fall off your bike or motorcycle, crash your car or even just end up with a smashed alloy wheel because of a pothole, we all should have the absolute right to claim compensation from the authority responsible for leaving the road in such a pathetic state of repair.
We all know things are tight at the moment in the economy, but as a country, we still seem to find the funds for frivolities, whilst absolutely dangerous and irresponsible situations like this are allowed to fall by the wayside. Shame on you!