Warnings have been issued by South Lanarkshire Council over concerns about road repairs
The warning comes from Councillor Robert Brown, Chair of Community and Enterprise Resources at South Lanarkshire Council, as fears rise that continuing funding pressures on the council could lead to a drastic decrease in the level of essential maintenance the council can afford to carry out.
Councillor Brown said: “The public are well aware that many roads, bridges and pavements need investment. Increased numbers of potholes, deteriorating surfaces, erosion due to weather, roads and pavements in poor overall condition – the work required on all our road infrastructure is extensive and growing.
“At the same time, cost increases in materials and labour have run at higher rates than even household budgets have experienced. This means that the public only gets 70% of the work done on road resurfacing that the same money bought a couple of years ago.
“Last year, the backlog of roads repairs increased to £106.5million. In addition, the current available investment in our carriageway assets falls increasingly below what we need to spend every year to maintain our roads, bridges and pavements in their current condition.
“South Lanarkshire is not alone in this. Every council across Scotland has similar problems. Indeed, we would argue that South Lanarkshire has done relatively well in recent years as we have invested extra money in maintaining our roads.
“Now, however, the levels of funding combined with rising construction inflation have drastically reduced the real-term funding we have available to maintain roads and pavements.
“This is the reality of the £96m cut in South Lanarkshire’s finances over the next four years, resulting from unprecedented cost inflation and continuing underfunding by the Scottish Government.”
Extra investment from the council over the last 10 years had seen a general improvement in the condition of the council’s roads. However, although the surveys also show South Lanarkshire to be performing better than the Scottish average, emerging statistics show a significant and worrying deterioration starting to occur in the quality of the road infrastructure.
Councillor Brown said: “Audit Scotland has noted that local authorities are now entering the most difficult budget-setting context seen for many years and, while our teams will survey, prioritise and repair to their full capability, without more funding I have grave worries that the road and pavement network in South Lanarkshire will deteriorate to unacceptable levels.
“The council wants to see roads and pavements in good condition, safe for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles alike.
“I hope that, considering the safety of our road-users is of paramount importance, more funding for this vital work can be provided.”