THE BLOG

Labour Has a Better Plan to Fix 'Pothole Britain' and Boost Cycling and Walking

27/04/2015 09:33 BST | Updated 26/06/2015 10:59 BST

A recent survey by the Institute of Advanced Motorists found that 70% of people think that the growing pothole problem on our local roads should be the Government's number one priority for helping road users. Over the last five years, our local roads have been allowed to deteriorate to a desperate state of disrepair. It's no wonder that people are now talking about 'Pothole Britain'.

Another five years of this neglect and falling investment will only make things worse. That's why Labour has set out a new and better plan to help all road users, including motorists, cyclists and bikers. We have announced that we will reprioritise transport budgets to not only fix Pothole Britain, but to give much needed extra funding to boost cycling and walking across the country.

Potholes are now blighting daily journeys and risking safety for motorists, cyclists, bikers and everyone who users local roads. And these hard-pressed road users and businesses are justifiably sick and tired of having their vehicles damaged because of Britain's pothole crisis.

Almost 50,000 drivers made claims for damage caused to their vehicles by potholes in the last financial year alone. And insurers estimate that potholes are costing motorists £730million a year.

Overall, a third of our local roads are now in urgent need of repair. And since 2010, an additional 2,262 miles of local roads are in such poor condition that they need urgent maintenance work.

But despite this growing problem, the spending plans set out by the Tories and Liberal Democrats will see funding for pothole repair fall by over £80million in the next Parliament. This will only lead to a further deterioration of our local roads.

That's why Labour will fix Pothole Britain and the dire state of local roads through a fully funded £300 million Pothole Fund. This will mean we we'll be able to mend at least an extra 6 million potholes - a third more than under the current Tory and Lib Dem plans, taking the total potholes to be mended in the next five years to 24million.

But as well as fixing Pothole Britain, boosting active travel is a major priority for Labour. Enabling more people to cycle and walk will not only improve the nation's health, but unclog our towns and cities, help people who are being priced out of transport and make our communities safer and better places to live.

David Cameron and Nick Clegg promised a "cycling revolution", but all we've had after five years is a draft Cycle Delivery Plan that has been widely criticised. Just 2% of overall journeys are now made by bike and walking accounts for just 22% of all trips, a 30% decrease since the mid-1990s.

To turn things around, Labour will go further than the Tories and the Lib Dems and create a fully funded £89million active travel fund to support a new long-term strategy for cycling and walking. This will also help to support new local investment in active travel projects and infrastructure.

Crucially, rather than the Government's unfunded transport promises, Labour's plans are fully funded. By delaying just two road schemes (out of a total of 127) that do not currently meet a clear value for money or business case, we can unlock the necessary funds.

Local roads are the arteries of our transport system, but David Cameron and Nick Clegg have been so out of touch that they have failed millions of motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

In contrast, Labour is committed to ensuring our local roads work for everyone who uses them. We want to see an end to Pothole Britain and to move cycling and walking from the margins to the mainstream - where it belongs. Labour is the only party with a fully funded and viable plan to make this a reality.

Michael Dugher, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport

Richard Burden, Shadow Roads Minister