Nearly half of the UK (49 percent) has placed roads and highways at the top of their list of areas that need investment, according the latest public service satisfaction survey, published today by the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).
The quarterly survey, which monitors attitudes to key public services in the UK such as roads, public transport, waste facilities and energy supply to homes, comes days before the Government is set to reveal budget cuts reaching tens of billions across a range of departments.
Roads and highways have retained their position as the public’s first or second priority for more investment since the first quarter of 2010, following the worst winter for 30 years which exacerbated existing road defects and led to a 40 percent increase in the number of pot holes. This caused satisfaction on the state of UK roads and highways to plummet from 60 percent down to 46 percent.
Public transport came a close second to roads and highways in the public’s priority areas for investment with 40 percent of respondents placing this as their first or second priority area. The disposal of rubbish and waste was next in line with 38 percent believing more investment is needed, up from 34 percent in quarter two. Respondents were more positive about services such as drinking water and sewage with 28 percent placing this in their top two priority areas. 21 percent voted for more investment in flood defences and not surprisingly due to the survey being conducted over the summer months, only 18 percent believe more investment in electricity and gas supply to homes is required.
ICE Vice President, Geoff French, said: "Yet again roads and highways are viewed as most in need of investment by those who use and depend on them every day. Our own assessment of UK infrastructure also graded local roads in the D ‘at risk’ category and in need of not only more investment to fix the growing number of surface defects, but for funding to be spent more efficiently to stem further deterioration and preserve this valuable and essential asset for the long term."
However French said the condition of our roads is not the only problem. "Congestion also remains a public frustration and will continue to be unless we manage demand at peak times and provide public transport alternatives to private car usage."
He added: "We know Government has some tough decisions to make in order to reduce the huge budget deficit, however we remain hopeful that it recognises the value of continued investment in all our public services and networks – from roads, public transport, energy supply and waste facilities right through to flood defences and water infrastructure. Our quality of life, our economic recovery and the transition to a low carbon economy, depends on the provision of first class infrastructure."