Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

One third of roads in Scotland deemed ‘unacceptable’

Not too long ago, I highlighted the condition of the footpaths around the east end of Glasgow, in particular, along the trenches where cables had been laid for cable TV: Will cable companies be held responsible for winter footpath damage?

At the time, (and without claiming any great insight, foresight, or imagination), I predicted there would soon be a great wailing and moaning about the condition of the road, and not a word would be heard about the footpaths.

Footpath winter damage 06

While I am certainly not spearheading any sort of campaign or crusade regarding the issue of the forgotten footpath, I do note that we now have a report on the roads, and that report claims that more than one-third of Scotland’s road are not in acceptable condition, and that a huge maintenance backlog now exists.

Worse still is the finding of Audit Scotland to the effect that this worsening condition is actually accompanied by an increase in spending on maintenance. Only 63% of roads were deemed to be in acceptable condition. Since 2004, the maintenance backlog has increased from £1.25 billion to £2.25 billion. In 2009/10, £654m was spent on maintaining trunk and local roads, which represents an increase of £32m on spending in 2004/05.

Transport Scotland, which has responsibility for trunk roads such as motorways, said it would fully consider the report’s findings, and added that the Scottish Government was providing local government in Scotland with significant levels of funding, and that local authorities had the freedom and flexibility to allocate the total resources available to them based on local needs and priorities, including road improvements.

There’s no real point in considering what any of the various political party’s spokespersons have said in response to this, because the simple fact is that this is all they will do now, and for years  to come, as the aftermath of the recession and forthcoming spending cuts means that the old expression “Talk is cheap” will come into play.

While there will no doubt much debate about how this abysmal situation can be resolved the simple fact is that since VED (vehicles excise duty), once knows as the ‘Road Fund’ or similar, became a huge earner and was no longer earmarked or ring-fenced for road, it has become nothing more than a Treasury cash-cow, and the roads can go to pot (holes).

This is not a politically motivated thought – whoever is in power would make no material difference – it’s a simple matter of practicality. It has taken decades to create the road network, and to consider rebuilding one-third of it, which in effect is the state we are at now, would take decades.

Add to that the fact that while the remaining two-thirds are perhaps deemed acceptable today, in the decades it will take to repair the currently unacceptable third, that fraction is the same age as broken, bit, and will shortly follow it into unacceptability.

Perhaps they should have a word with the folk that managed the painting of the Forth Bridge – they might learn something.

Auditor General for Scotland appears at Holyrood

Auditor General for Scotland, Robert Black, presented his report to Holyrood’s Public Audit Committee, and opened by revealing that his own car was off the road after hitting a pothole.

Scotland’s roads watchdog reveals car damaged after hitting pothole | Scotland | STV News

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February 16, 2011 - Posted by | Civilian, council | , , , , ,

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