John Finnie has called for urgent repairs to take priority over new roadbuilding, after a damning report found that 37% of council-maintained roads are in an unacceptable condition.
The Audit Scotland report Maintaining Scotland’s Roads: a follow-up report reveals how local authority spending on roads maintenance “continues to decrease” and that councils spent £33 million less on maintenance in 2014/15 than the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation Scotland (SCOTS) “considers necessary to maintain the current condition of local roads”.
Meanwhile, Transport Scotland, who are responsible for major routes, spent £24 million less than is needed to maintain the condition of trunk roads.
Argyll & Bute and Eilean Siar are the council areas with the highest and third-highest proportion of local roads in unacceptable condition, with over half the roads in Argyll and Bute in need of repair. This tallies with maintenance spending in these council areas: Argyll and Bute has the biggest gap in the country between current repair spending and what SCOTS says is necessary, and Highland the third-biggest gap. Both councils spends more than £10m less than is necessary to maintain the roads in their current condition. Orkney has the lowest number of roads in unacceptable condition, with almost four out of five roads making the grade.
John is the Scottish Greens’ spokesperson on transport. He said:
“The findings of this report will not surprise many. What’s important now is that action is taken to allocate adequate resources to ensure that Scotland’s roads are fit for purpose.
“With the tightening of local authority budgets, it’s understandable that many councils have struggled to keep up with road maintenance.
“That’s why Scottish Greens are fully supportive of expenditure being used to maintain our existing infrastructure rather than spending obscene sums on building new roads.”