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Road Condition: England

Volume 693: debated on Thursday 29 April 2021

In addition to investing £1.7 billion in 2021-22 in local roads, plus an unprecedented £27 billion in the strategic road network through to 2025, we are working towards the creation of a common data standard for the monitoring of road condition. That will aim to drive innovation and flexibility in monitoring local roads, enabling authorities to target defects in their networks more quickly.

Fifty of my constituents in Boatman Drive, Etruria, have been unable to access the road to their homes for over a year due to a large sinkhole that has forced Stoke-on-Trent City Council to close the road to all vehicles, including emergency services. Many of the residents have been in contact with me. One, Mr Madadi, was offered a fantastic new employment opportunity but could not accept the offer as it required relocation, and his home could not be sold because of the sinkhole. Will the Minister meet me to help resolve this issue, which I am sure she will agree has been going on for far too long?

I commend my hon. Friend for raising that concern in the House and standing up for her constituents. I fully understand that this is a long- running issue involving several parties, including the water utility company and the housing developer. I completely share her and her constituents’ frustration. I would be delighted to ask my noble Friend the roads Minister, who deals with this, to meet her; she has already undertaken to do so.

I do not know whether the Minister has recently visited Tory-controlled Derbyshire, but I have, and the roads are in a shocking state. Plugging potholes and patching up roads in a piecemeal fashion simply does not work. What we need is a proper road maintenance programme, yet the Government have slashed funding by £375 million and are ploughing £27 billion into road expansion during a climate emergency. Does the Minister not think that it would be better for motorists, cyclists and the planet if we focused on fixing what we have got?

I am delighted that the hon. Lady enjoyed her visit to Derbyshire—long may it continue to be Conservative-controlled. She is wrong to say that we are not investing in local roads. The Government announced £1.7 billion for maintenance and upgrades to tackle potholes, relieve congestion and boost connectivity.

I would like to address this allegation head-on. It is incorrect to say that we are spending £27 billion on road building or that 4,000 miles of new roads are planned. We are actually investing £27 billion in the operation, maintenance and renewal of England’s strategic road network to secure safer and more reliable journeys that have less impact on adjacent communities and places.