Councils have warned of a “national congestion crisis” as the latest figures show the number of vehicles on English roads has risen by almost 2.5 million in five years.
According to the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents councils in England and Wales, there were 2,460,900 more vehicles on the road in 2017 when compared with 2013 – a 7.7 percent increase.
However, during the same period, the LGA says the overall road length in England has only increased by 0.6 percent, or just over 1,100 miles.
As a result, the LGA says congestion is having a “significant impact” on towns and cities, as well as causing pollution issues.
The LGA has called on the government to help councils fund road improvements by reinvesting 2p per litre of existing fuel duty. The organisation says this would generate an extra £1 billion a year for councils and would help them tackle their £9.3 billion road repair backlog.
Councillor Martin Tett, the LGA’s transport spokesman, said: “England’s roads are currently gripped by a growing congestion crisis.
“Very few journeys begin and end on a motorway or trunk road yet government funding on the strategic road network is 52 times higher than for local roads. Spending more on improving our national roads will only serve to speed vehicles up between increased delays and congestion on local roads.
“It would already take more than £9 billion and over 14 years for councils to clear the current local road repairs backlog. Reinvesting 2p per litre of existing fuel duty into local road maintenance would generate £1 billion a year for councils to start tackling the backlog and improve our local roads.
“Councils are working hard to combat traffic and congestion but need to be able to do more to tackle this growing problem. The government should give councils long-term funding certainty for transport investments that will enable them to embark on the widespread improvement of our roads that is desperately needed, to the benefit of all road users up and down the country.”