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Potholes (Highways Agency)

Volume 504: debated on Thursday 28 January 2010

11. What recent estimate he has made of the number of potholes and other road surface defects requiring repair on roads maintained by the Highways Agency. (313721)

The Highways Agency has a comprehensive road resurfacing programme to reduce the potential for potholes and other surface defects. However, the severity of the recent weather has led to an increase in those defects. There is no value in the agency counting potholes, as it has a robust regime for identifying them and allocating the resources necessary for undertaking repairs. That is sufficient to keep England’s motorways and trunk roads in a serviceable and safe condition.

The Minister has obviously not read the report produced last year, before the recent weather that has further damaged the road network, by the Asphalt Industry Alliance, which reported that there is a 13-year backlog of maintenance on our road network. The Government have had 13 years, and not only did they fail to fix the roof when the sun was shining—

Certainly, Mr. Speaker.

Not only did this Government fail to fix the roof when the sun was shining, but they failed to fix the roads. What are they going to do now that the roads are in a much worse condition than they were when that report was issued?

The hon. Gentleman asked me about the Highways Agency, and I have given him an appropriate answer about the strategic road network. If he is widening his question to include local roads, those are of course matters for local authorities, many of which may well be Conservative-controlled.