As anyone who drives these days will be painfully aware, Britain’s roads are in an abysmal condition at the moment, perhaps the worst in living memory. We seldom comment on National Politics but in this instance, we really have no choice because Henley’s roads are as badly affected as everyone else’s. The fact is, Britain’s Roads are a national disgrace and an International laughing stock.
- Evening Standard – Britain’s roads worse than Namibia and Ecuador
- Metro – Britain’s roads facing ‘pothole crisis’ after winter big freeze
- Sky News – UK’s roads like ‘the surface of the moon’, after record rise in breakdowns, RAC says
- Daily Mail – Roads blighted by craters – and how it costs businesses and locals millions!
- Independent – England’s worst pothole locations revealed – as 4 in 5 roads damaged in one area.
Unfortunately, the shocking state of Britain’s roads is a direct result of central government policy. In 2021/22 Vehicle Excise Duty raised around £7.1 billion and Fuel taxes raised a further £25.9 billion. Of that total of £33 billion, raised directly from motorists, ONLY about £11.8 billion, one third, was spent on national and local roads in the UK during the same period. It is because only a third of the tax raised from motorists is spent on the roads that our roads are so poor. The Conservative government, that controls both the taxation and the spending, then deceitfully blames local councils who struggle to maintain our cheap and substandard road network when it falls apart in the winter and melts in the summer.
Although HRG councillors frequently report any potholes on FixMyStreet, and encourage other Henley Residents to do the same to get Henley’s roads prioritised, the potholes are not being fixed fast enough and the underlying cause, the shocking underinvestment in Britain’s roads, is not being addressed at all.
HRG Councillor, Stefan Gawrysiak, has secured record investment in Henley’s roads, most recently with the complete resurfacing of New Street, but the pace of road improvements will not be able to accelerate until the Government wakes up, stops hiding behind local councils and takes Britain’s road network seriously.
Things you can do
- There is a new petition on the official government website, if just every person in Henley signed it, the government would be forced to respond. Increase funding for the repair and resurfacing of roads
- Write to our MP and demand he raise the issue with the government. John Howell, PO Box 84, Watlington, OX49 5XD
- PLEASE report any pothole you see on FixMyStreet which is available for Android and Apple smartphones.
- Don’t allow the Government to hide by supporting the narrative that local councils are to blame! Demand local councils be given the funds required to resurface more of our roads more quickly, not just patch them up after the fact every year.
- Vote for HRG Councillors on May 4th so that we can continue pushing for our roads to be resurfaced and for immensely damaging HGV through traffic to be banned from Henley.