How Ukraine War Means More Potholes For UK

Mon 5th Sep 2022

Britain’s ailing road network could be set for a cruel winter after the Local Government Association revealed that high inflation and the cost of war in Ukraine is hitting finances hard.

Before the conflict in Ukraine, about 60 percent of bitumen, a substance used for road repairs throughout the nation, was acquired from Russia and sold to the European market. Since the Russian incursion, councils have had to limit the quantity of bitumen and purchase it from other markets, boosting expenses and delaying repairs.

Councils are also noting that rising costs for electricity, steel, lighting, and concrete are constraining their spending. In addition, areas preparing for winter have been confronted with an increase of 60% in salt prices.

The LGA, which represents over 350 councils in England and Wales, is calling for the incoming Prime Minister to urgently address these additional expense pressures as part of any new budgetary initiatives.

Councils are already facing a huge backlog of road repairs, and it would take them 10 years and £12 billion to bring local roads up to par. These rising cost pressures may cause the backlog to lengthen, forcing important work to be postponed.

In June, LGA research revealed that councils would be hit with £3.6 billion in extra budget pressures by 2024/25 as a result of rising inflation, higher energy costs, and the burden of meeting the National Living Wage.

“As this stark new analysis shows, councils across the country are facing unprecedented increased costs to repair our local roads, keep our street lights switched on and invest in improved local infrastructure,” said Cllr David Renard, Transport spokesperson for the LGA.

“Global pressures, such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as increasing inflation and a shortage of materials have all provided the perfect storm for councils and piled pressure on already stretched local budgets.

“To tackle this issue, the new Government must cover these increased costs for councils or risk roads condition getting worse or reductions in other services.

“Only with adequate long term funding – to cover increased cost pressures and invest in local services - and the right powers, can councils deliver for our communities, tackle the climate emergency, and level up all parts of the country.”