HAVE you noticed the state of the roads recently? Cornwall’s roads are crumbling as more budgetary cuts come into force.

As a councillor one of the things I do is report potholes and check that they have been fixed, five years ago a reported pothole would be filled within forty eight hours of verification.

Now, that wait is over a week, and in other cases a lot more! This winter has been one of the wettest on record, the first three months of 2024 have seen around six months’ worth of rain which certainly hasn’t helped the situation, but the main cause is cuts.

In the financial year 2022/23 claims for compensation against the council due highway defects have increased 550% compared to 2020/21. Successful claims have increased by 532%. The decline has been dramatic, I’m sure many have you noticed it yourselves.

A few months ago, there was a big cheer from Cornwall Council’s administration as they received from government millions of pounds of funding to tackle the pothole crisis.

The sad reality is that instead of having extra money to fund potholes, a political choice was made to shift the difference to other departments, so there was no extra money for potholes.

The Asphalt Industry Alliance’s latest ALARM survey has concluded that more than half of local roads England and Wales could fail within fifteen years. It states that Councils will have repaired two million potholes in 2023/24 with a £16.3-billion repair backlog.

Cornwall’s share of that is £294-million and at the current level of investment into road repair by Cornwall Council that means all the current defects will be fixed in twelve years! That’s before we consider any new potholes in need of repair.

Cornwall Council itself has pretty much cut all forms of preventative care from its budget meaning we’re now spending more money repeatedly fixing the same problems than keeping our roads in a good state. We’re literally throwing good money after bad.

There is no long-term plan, and there is no promise of funding certainty from the government. Which means Cornwall Council can’t reverse the decline, which in turn will cost more money, and more importantly will ultimately cost lives.

Councillor Leigh Frost is the Cornwall Council member for Bodmin St Petroc, in addition to being the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Cornwall Council.