asked the Minister of Transport what is his estimate of the cost of damage to vehicles or other property during 1980–81 as a result of unsatisfactory highway surfaces.
There is not yet any objective evidence to suggest that the condition of road surfaces generally is deteriorating seriously, or that the cost in real terms of wear and tear to vehicles and property is rising.
Is the Minister aware that an increasing number of motorists show growing distress and face mounting bills as a result of those unsatisfactory roads? Will he make clear that responsibility for next year rests with this Administration and not with local authorities? It is unfair that local authorities should receive the brunt of such criticism.
Many motorists criticise the standards of highway maintenance. An objective study, the national road condition survey, is being carried out to investigate the position. Responsibility rests with local authorities. They should make the best use of the resources that we make available. They must make their own decisions about priorities for road maintenance in their areas.