Scotland’s roads ‘in worst condition of any in UK’

SCOTLAND’S roads are in the worst condition of any in the UK, a survey by the country’s biggest motoring group showed today.

The AA said 45 per cent of those questioned rated the country’s non-trunk roads as being in a poor state or even worse – compared with a third across the UK as a whole.

More than half (53 per cent) of Scottish drivers also said council-maintained roads had deteriorated since last year.

The AA said the findings, and those of a pothole survey in December, suggested that although there were fewer holes in Scottish roads than a year ago, surfaces remained far from smooth.

Its December poll showed the average number of potholes reported by those taking part had halved from 20 to nine since the previous year, although it remained the highest in the UK.

The survey found roads in Yorkshire and Humberside were rated next worst, with 44 per cent of drivers describing them as poor. A total of 22,000 people were questioned, including nearly 2,000 in Scotland.

Overall, half said roads had become worse, although a higher proportion in northern and south-west England reported a deterioration than in Scotland.

AA president Edmund King said: “This spring, our patrols are telling us that potholes are popping up faster than daffodils.

“These AA findings are deeply worrying and show that UK drivers are once again experiencing a bad pothole season after a lull last spring – perhaps with worse to come.”

Other motoring groups said the latest poll reflected the size of the road repairs backlog and too many superficial “patch-up” jobs. They also called for more money to be earmarked to tackle the problem.

Neil Greig, the Scotland-based policy and research director for the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “This is disappointing but no real surprise – it is the result of another year of tight budgets and severe weather.

“The make-do-and-mend approach means most patches are simply opening up again and again as the weather veers from snow and ice to rain.

“Last year’s national road maintenance review suggested councils need to implement new techniques and shared resources, but this is clearly not enough without guaranteed long-term funding.”

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Our research shows that in the mid-1980s road surfaces were being repaired and replaced roughly once every 12 years or so. Today it is once every 25 years.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “The maintenance of local roads is a matter for local authorities, who received almost £11 billion in Scottish Government funding this year.

“In the face of Westminster-imposed cuts to the Scottish budget, increasing traffic levels and the impact of severe weather, all those with responsibilities for maintaining roads are facing a considerable challenge.”