Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has contributed to the UK’s pothole pandemic, due to rising material and repair costs…
Ukraine and Potholes
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been a cause of unquantifiable suffering and devastation, but it’s also having an impact closer to home in the UK; and it ways that will worsen the mounting cost-of-living crisis. According to the RAC, the war has also caused the nation’s pothole pandemic to reach a ‘unprecedented’ level.
Indeed, research conducted by the Local Government Association (LGA), which counts 350 councils amongst its members, has noted that the cost of road maintenance has risen by 22% on average. This is because 60% of the bitumen used in the UK (a material used in road construction) was originally imported from Russia. Authorities are now looking to source the material form elsewhere, but soaring prices and delayed deliveries are making it difficult to conduct repairs and to address potholes.
A recent study has suggested that it’ll take around ten years, and a spend of £12 billion, to get the UK’s road network back to an acceptable state.
A Long-Term Solution
Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, has acknowledged that potholes may seem trivial in comparison to Ukraine’s plight. He’s nevertheless stressed that a long-term solution is vital for the UK.
He explained, “this analysis shows that alongside households, pubs and other businesses suffering from the dramatic hike in energy prices, local highway authorities are also feeling the pinch, made sharper by the consequences of the war in Ukraine. Patching potholes might pale into insignificance as a problem when compared to the devastation and human misery caused by President Putin’s actions, but the funding squeeze on local spending will soon start to feel more real if authorities are going to struggle just to keep the streetlights on”.
He added, “while we might hope that what we are seeing is a short-term challenge, the reality is that we need a long-term solution that doesn’t risk road spending being perennially crowded out by authorities’ social care responsibilities”.
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