Scottish Liberal Democrat transport spokesman Mike Rumbles MSP today warned that the SNP’s council funding squeeze will make it virtually impossible for local authorities to keep roads in a fit state as new figures suggested up to 20,000 km of road in Scotland is not in an acceptable condition.
Mr Rumbles was speaking as a new Audit Scotland report graded 37% of roads maintained by councils and 13% of trunk roads as Amber or Red, in need of maintenance.
The report also revealed that there has been a fall of 14% in council expenditure on road repairs since 2011/12. Last year, councils spent £33 million less on planned and routine maintenance in 2014/15 than the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation Scotland (SCOTS) say is necessary to maintain the current condition of local roads.
Councils in England are sending two and a half times as much per kilometre on roads maintenance than Scottish Councils, and three times as much as Transport Scotland are spending on trunk roads maintenance.
Commenting, Mr Rumbles said:
“Councils have been put under huge financial pressure by the SNP government and this is the result. These figures suggest at there could be 20,000 kilometres of road which need repairs but we are millions of pounds short of investing enough to simply maintain current conditions.
“It is hard to escape the conclusion that the funding squeeze that has been imposed on local authorities will make it virtually impossible for councils to keep more roads in a fit state. Investment in our roads has fallen well behind spending in other parts of the UK.
“This is about more than delays in filling potholes. A quality transport network is vital to our economy and unless we start maintaining roads properly we will pay the price for years to come. There are steps that we can take to help councils work more effectively but we also need to see SNP Ministers look again at the settlement imposed on councils earlier this year.”
Notes to Editors:
There are 56,000 km of roads in Scotland, of which 3,600km are trunk roads managed by Transport Scotland. The remaining 52,400km are managed by councils.
Audit Scotland found that 13% (468km) of trunk roads and 37% (19,388km) of council roads are not in an acceptable condition. This implies that 19,856km of road in Scotland is not in an acceptable condition.
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