Saturday 22 July 2017

Pothole woe for roads report author

The condition of Scotland's roads has worsened since the last report in 2004, it has been revealed
The condition of Scotland's roads has worsened since the last report in 2004, it has been revealed

The author of a report that identified Scotland's roads require £2.25 billion worth of repairs has revealed his car is off the road due to a pothole.

Auditor General for Scotland Robert Black opened his "sobering and worrying" indictment on the state of Scotland's roads at Holyrood's Public Audit Committee by joking that as a car owner he had a personal interest in the findings of his own report.

Mr Black said: "Clearly, if we wanted to get media headlines we should publish a report entirely about potholes."

However, despite the light-hearted opening, MSPs said they were in no doubt about the seriousness of Mr Black's findings, which he summarised comprehensively for the committee.

Mr Black said: "What we've found is rather disappointing. The condition of Scotland's roads since our last report in 2004 has worsened. But more significantly the expenditure trends and the scale of the backlog on maintenance mean that the asset value of the network has not been sustained.

"There are serious issues in deferring this essential expenditure. In the first place, we are just simply storing up problems for the future. Secondly, we are passing on to our children and future generations the burden of us consuming the assets that we inherited from the previous generation."

Audit Scotland performance audit group assistant director Ronnie Nicol spelled out the extent of the problem.

He said: "Despite public spending in Scotland rising by around 25% since our last report, the condition of Scotland's roads has worsened and only 63% are now in an acceptable condition.

"As the condition of our roads declines it is no real surprise that the cost of repairing the roads maintenance backlog has increased.

"The estimated cost of removing all network defects in Scotland, no matter how slight, is more than £2.25 billion. That's a billion pounds more than when we looked at this in 2004."

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