The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has hit back at claims from the Local Government Association (LGA) that potholes on the UK’s road network will continue to get worse due to an increase in the use of heavier lorries.
The LGA claimed that the amount of goods lorries are transporting each year has increase by five per cent to almost 1.7 billion tonnes from the previous year.
This could see the cost of repairing roads rise to £14Bn within two years – three times what councils’ spent on highways and transport in 2016.
In response, the FTA has called on central government to reverse the downturn in spending on local infrastructure, which it says has caused a 14-year repairs backlog across the national road network.
Christopher Snelling, Head of Policy at FTA said: “Freight levels on our roads are still not back to the pre-recession totals of 2006 so the LGA’s assertion that HGVs are solely responsible for the increased number of potholes on Britain’s roads is incorrect.
He said the FTA’s comments lacked a real understanding on the impact of freight vehicles:
“Larger lorries do not cause increased damage to the road surface – in fact, they have more axles, which spread payloads more evenly. When combined with road-friendly twin tyres and road-friendly suspension, this reduces the impact of road usage by lorries. Moving to a greater number of smaller vehicles would not ease the problem, but would simply compound the impact on an already weakened infrastructure.”
Mr Snelling said that the real issue is a shortfall in funding from central government to fix the pothole problem that’s affecting the roads across the country.
He said: “Local authorities are facing large bills – one off costs of approximately £69M per council – to bring their roads up to a reasonable condition. If local authorities are not able to spend enough to do this now, then FTA wants to work with LGA in securing more support from national government to address the problem.
“The transportation of essential goods on our roads is crucial to the continued health of the economy, and to claim that lorries are the cause of the potholes across the country is simply not true. We call on government to make a significant investment to ensure that British business can keep moving smoothly, without potholes.”
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