THE amount of funding for highway maintenance in Wales has decreased according to a new report.

The Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) today – March 21 – published the findings from their annual ALARM survey, which looks at the annual local authority road maintenance across England and Wales.

The survey found that councils in Wales received just 55 per cent of the funding they need to stop the local roads deteriorating further and that an additional £770million is needed to fix the backlog of carriageway repairs to bring the road network up to condition that would allow it to be managed cost effectively and sustainability going forward.

The survey saw that the average amount given to highways teams at councils in Wales is now £9m per local authority, a 7.2 per cent drop and giving Wales its lowest figures since 2020.

60 per cent of Welsh local authority respondents reported a cut in their highway maintenance budget with the remaining 40 per cent seeing an increase in funding.

The majority of the funding for the local authorities – 69 per cent – comes from the Welsh Government and the remaining 31 per cent comes from within the local authorities’ own budgets.

Most of the local authorities in England and Wales (87 per cent) reported spending the entire allowance last year, with 24 per cent reporting an overspend.

Welsh councils had to spend more on unforeseen costs, with 80 per cent needing to spend funds that were not planned at the beginning of the year.

Despite receiving more funds in total on average, the overall shortfall in Wales comes in at £4.3m per authority this past year, a 59 per cent increase on the previous year’s £2.7m per authority.

Wales’ roads, however, are generally considered to be in a decent condition, with 62 per cent of the road network coming in the ‘green’ category representing a good state of repair.

Some 31 per cent of roads do have some deterioration and fall in the amber category and only 7 per cent of roads fall in the red category where there is a poor condition.

The latter figure is the same as last year’s ALARM survey, while the number of roads in the green category have increased and the number of roads in the amber category have decreased.

The number of potholes to have been filled in Wales over the last year came in at 3,485, with the planned cost of £52.13 to fill each pothole but the reactive cost came in at £70.30.

Rick Green, AIA chairman, said: “Highway engineers can only do so much with the resources they are given and should be applauded for the steps they take to keep roads safe.

“The link between continued underinvestment and the ongoing structural decline and below par surface conditions of our local roads is clear, with the upwards trend reported in our Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey in recent years highlighting the eye-watering multi-million-pound cost of fixing the backlog of carriageway repairs in Wales.

“We all appreciate that there are difficult choices to make with demands and pressures on the public purse coming from every area, but potholes and the condition of our local roads remain key issues for the public.

“Not investing sufficiently in local road maintenance only leads to worsening conditions, which impact on other locally provided public services, a rising bill to fix the problem and more road user complaints.”