Mayor Joe Anderson has written to the Transport Secretary to outline serious concerns about the condition of the city’s roads and asking him to urgently review the counci’s funding allocation.
A report to the council’s Cabinet on Friday 17 March estimated that the value of the highway maintenance backlog across the city is now valued at approximately £439 million, whereas the Government is providing only £4.3 million per year.
There are approximately 14,000 carriageway repairs outstanding that have not been able to be repaired within the 25-day target, with an additional 20,000 footway repairs also logged in the system. The number of highway related claims being received by the council is now approximately 90% of all claims received.
Mayor Anderson warns: “The state of the roads has become so bad, I am convinced it is only a matter time that a driver, cyclist or pedestrian is killed due to vehicles hitting, or swerving to avoid one of the potholes that are now so widespread across our roads. I am writing this as an open letter because any death would be on my conscience and, quite simply, I am desperate for government’s support in funding the situation we face.”
In the letter, he also points out that the City Council has invested over five times the funding into improving the city’s highway network compared to that provided by central government. This has enabled the improvement of some of the Council’s key strategic highways and 8,300 carriageway repairs, targeting approximately 26,000 potholes. A further £5m is also being identified to address the current backlog of carriageway defects.
The full text of the letter is below
Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP
Department for Transport
Great Minster House
33 Horseferry Road
Dear Secretary of State
I wanted to share with you again the serious concerns I have, as Mayor of Liverpool, in relation to the appalling condition of the highway network in Liverpool.
When we met I told you about how bad it is in the city, I told you that your predecessor Patrick McLoughlin had also been made aware and had sent officials to see for themselves how bad things are. The state of the roads has become so bad, I am convinced it is only a matter time that a driver, cyclist or pedestrian is killed due to vehicles hitting, or swerving to avoid one of the potholes that are now so widespread across our roads. I am writing this as an open letter because any death would be on my conscience and, quite simply, I am desperate for government’s support in funding the situation we face.
After years of neglect under a previous administration which had caused a huge backlog of highway repairs, in 2014 I agreed an £80million investment package to address the issue. The city council has since made a further investment of £8million and worked with the private sector to lever in another £16million. The frustration is that, despite this level of investment, the city’s backlog sits at a staggering £440million which would be the cost to fix the potholes and bring the roads up to standard.
An even greater frustration for me however is the fact that the government’s contribution from DfT towards maintenance since 2014 is just £17.6million, barely scratching the surface of the problem. The city council has been pro-active in identifying funding but it is a stark reality that the government’s contribution is 5 times less than what we’ve put in locally.
The wider effects of the parlous state of our roads is that the number of highway claims against the council for damage to vehicles has rocketed and represent 90% of the claims we now receive, adding significantly to the pressure on the council’s budget.
I would ask that you urgently review the council’s current funding allocation received through DfT given the scale of the problem we face. My fears that a pothole will imminently cause a death on the roads are real and I wish to alert you and your officials to the seriousness of the situation.
I look forward to your response.
Mayor of Liverpool