LGA warning on growing congestion crisis

By agency reporter
July 30, 2018

The number of vehicles on England’s roads has risen by nearly two and a half million in the last five years, councils have revealed.

The Local Government Association (LGA) says that, over the same period, road space has only increased by 0.6 per cent. This means there are significantly more vehicles per mile of road leading to increased congestion, air pollution and more wear and tear on our roads.

The LGA is warning that congestion is having a significant impact on our towns, cities and communities, and acting as a drag on local growth. Worse still, it can lead to toxic air and reduced quality of life.

Latest figures show:

  • There were 2,460,900 more vehicles on the road in 2017 when compared with five years ago in 2013 – an increase of 7.7 per cent
  • Road length in England has only increased by 0.6 per cent in the last five years (1,119 miles), whilst the number of vehicles per mile of road has increased by 7.1 per cent (158 to 170 vehicles per mile)
  • UK drivers wasted an average of 31 hours in rush-hour traffic last year, costing each motorist £1,168

Councils in England face an overall funding gap of almost £8 billion by 2025. The Government must urgently address the growing funding gaps facing local services.

The LGA, which represents 370 councils in England and Wales, is calling on the Government to recognise the need to match the increased infrastructure pressures and demand on our local roads with a radical new strategy to provide a fully-funded plan, as well as new powers to better manage congestion. This needs to include reinvesting two pence per litre of existing fuel duty which would generate an extra £1 billion a year for councils to spend on local roads maintenance and help tackle the £9.3 billion backlog of repairs.

This would allow councils to improve road surfaces and reduce congestion, ensuring everyone can complete their journeys quicker and with less stress, meaning fewer hours driving and more time getting on with their day, in line with the aims of the recently announced National Infrastructure Assessment.

Cllr Martin Tett, LGA Transport spokesman, said: “England’s roads are currently gripped by a growing congestion crisis.

“Very few journeys begin and end on a motorway or trunk road yet government funding on the strategic road network is 52 times higher than for local roads. Spending more on improving our national roads will only serve to speed vehicles up between increased delays and congestion on local roads.

“It would already take more than £9 billion and over 14 years for councils to clear the current local road repairs backlog. Reinvesting two pence per litre of existing fuel duty into local road maintenance would generate £1 billion a year for councils to start tackling the backlog and improve our local roads.

“Councils are working hard to combat traffic and congestion but need to be able to do more to tackle this growing problem. The Government should implement the recommendations of the National Infrastructure Assessment and give councils long term funding certainty for transport investments that will enable councils to embark on the widespread improvement of our roads that is desperately needed, to the benefit of all road users up and down the country.”

* Local Government Association https://www.local.gov.uk/

[Ekk/6]

Although the views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Ekklesia, the article may reflect Ekklesia's values. If you use Ekklesia's news briefings please consider making a donation to sponsor Ekklesia's work here.