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A “holistic and long term approach” is needed in order to tackle potholes and road maintenance issues in the UK, the cycling charity Cycling UK has urged.
Speaking to Cycling Weekly after the launch of our “War on Potholes” last week, Duncan Dollimore, Cycling UK’s head of campaigns, said on Monday: “What's happening is defects on some roads that require long term repair and maintenance is happening on a stopgap basis, that's not cost effective long term.
"There needs to be a plan for long term maintenance of this infrastructure.”
Dollimore pointed out that fixing these issues would benefit all road users - not just cyclists - and that increased government expenditure on local roads would surely be a vote winner supported across the board. One of Cycling Weekly’s three goals from this campaign is to get political parties to commit to reverse the decline in local roads funding.
“There should be more funding provided for highways authorities to fix potholes,” Dollimore said on Monday. “The broader campaign point that we would make is that it's a bit bigger than just potholes and road maintenance. It's actually a question of reallocating funding towards local roads and local infrastructure.
"Every story that you hear about the cost of transport and roads involves a story of X million or billions being spent on a highway, a national highways scheme, in relation to a dual carriageway or a motorway," he continued. "The problem is we should be spending more of our money on local roads and local infrastructure. By roads, I'm also including the cycling infrastructure on those roads.
"The failure to invest in the repair of potholes on local roads is symptomatic of the failure to invest in local transport."
Cycling UK also want funding for road maintenance to include cycling infrastructure, something that is all-too often excluded at the moment. However, the crucial thing is that it is a long-term fix, not a short-term stopgap.
“It needs to include maintenance and cycling infrastructure,” Dollimore said. “And it needs to be long term. Over and above the issue of how much money is provided there's the question of the confidence and security that local authorities have provided long term, rather than short term.”
He also echoed the point made in the original Cycling Weekly article that it is the reduction in funding for local authorities which is the underlying factory behind all this.
"Over the last few years, it has started to feel quite uncomfortable pointing the finger too much at local authorities for failing to do a better job," Dollimore said. "Because in real terms, their funding to fix this has been decreased."
ACTION POINTS: CYCLING WEEKLY'S WAR ON POTHOLES
We want to get you involved in putting pressure on the UK authorities to deliver the quality roads we all deserve. Some of that might be by writing to your council or MP but also just reporting the perilous state of the UK roads will help push it up the agenda.
Here are our three goals:
- Double the volume of potholes reported through the fillthathole.org.uk website to over 1,000 a month.
- Get all political parties to put vulnerable road users at the heart of their road strategy and maintenance decisions.
- Get all political parties to commit to reversing the decline in local roads funding
This is just the beginning, not the end, of this campaign - keep your eyes peeled for interviews with politicians, first-person stories from those affected, and pieces on what is being done to tackle the problem.
If you have experienced an issue with potholes while out cycling, please email in to tell your story: email@example.com
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Adam is Cycling Weekly’s senior news and feature writer – his greatest love is road racing but as long as he is cycling on tarmac, he's happy. Before joining Cycling Weekly he spent two years writing for Procycling, where he interviewed riders and wrote about racing, speaking to people as varied as Demi Vollering to Philippe Gilbert. Before cycling took over his professional life, he covered ecclesiastical matters at the world’s largest Anglican newspaper and politics at Business Insider. Don't ask how that is related to cycling.
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