Potholes and road capacity

The long and cold winter has not been kind to the roads. There are now many areas of damaged surfaces and a lot of holes forming through the tarmac. I have been lobbying the government to urge them to do more to recover from this problem now we may have seen the end of the snow and ice. Prompt action before the holes get any bigger would be good in itself and cheaper in the long run. I was pleased to see this morning the Transport Secretary has announced an extra £100m for Councils to do pothole work, on top of the Pothole Action Fund he provided earlier this year.

I am also renewing my submissions on how to improve the capacity of the present road network through better traffic management, and how to spend on road improvements that can ease congestion and improve safety. The list of ideas includes:

1. Rephasing lights to give priority to main roads, with sensors for side roads
2. Right hand turning lanes where possible
3. Mini roundabouts and roundabouts in place of traffic lights where this can ease congestion
4. More off street parking and less on street parking
5. Better arrangements for drop off and pick up at schools, away from cars parking on the main road
6. More bridges over railway lines to replace level crossings and to provide more routes into town and city centres, and more bridges over rivers.
7. More cycleways away from main roads to provide a safer route for cyclists
8. New and replacement utility pipes and cables to be buried away from the main carriageways of roads, with easier access points for repairs
9. Clearer signs for times of bus lanes, with more use of lanes by other vehicles outside peaks
10. More bypasses to take through traffic away from residential areas and High Streets


  1. Mark B
    March 26, 2018

    Good morning

    The winter has neither been bad or long, not when you can compare it to winters past.

    The reason why roads are in such s state of disrepair is due to lack of spending. Too much money is being taken from the motorist and syphoned off to other areas. E.g. wind subsidy, EU and overseas aid.

    As for all the rest, that can wait until after we has sorted out the appalling state of the roads as the cost does not reflect any gain

    1. MIke Stallard
      March 26, 2018

      …and the burgeoning bureaucracy. The very people who are in charge out here in the Fens are awarding themselves pay rises. the roads are deteriorating very fast. I went on the A47 yesterday – the main trunk road between the Midlands and Felixtowe. Ouch!

      1. Hope
        March 26, 2018

        £100billion and rising cost of HS2 needs to be scrapped, then your govt could increase public service spending, it could stop the extension or punishment given by the EUand accepted by May to save another £100 billion just to talk about trade! WTO much cheaper and a clean break straight away giving certainty to the minority of businesses who trades with eh EU. Davis needs to clarify which statement is correct the one on Marr yesterday or to Priti Patel in Parliament he cannot have it both ways.
        No more add ons or security and defence underhand talk by May.

        Let us also be clear Javid is making a ham fisted mess of local government. Replace him with someone prepared to sort out local authorities. Tax bills twice the amount of inflation, we are taxed several times over for the same thing and you are still talking peanuts to provide third world public services while is eager to hand our taxes over by the billion to the EU!

    2. Iain Gill
      March 26, 2018

      The winters in Chicago are much colder, and the summers much hotter, and their roads are mostly a lot better than ours.

      They do use different road compounds to build their roads, designed to cope with bigger temperature extremes, which have pros and cons, one of the cons being that they are less grippy than our default compounds, but people have adapted by having wider tyres etc over time.

      So there are ways of handling this properly, and cost effectively.

      1. Anonymous
        March 26, 2018

        We recently visited Boston USA where it was minus 8. The air was a lot drier than here so no ice.

        Freeze thaw and high humidity is our problem. Ice is the killer, not the snow.

      2. Hope
        March 26, 2018

        What a pointless question and assurance between JRM and May. It is as good as her Lancaster speech, red lines and assurances that the UK will regain money-£100 billion promised, laws-regulatory alignment forever – borders- mass immigration continues, Rudd inviting all their families as well- during the extension! How did MAy’s assurances and red lines work out? civil service working to fund EU army and secretly fund security and defence.

        In addition she has given ECJ oversight after the punishment extension and given away territorial waters and fishing stocks as well. JRM was right first time the UK will be a vassal state during the punishment extension. What else could she give? Who in their right mind would believe or trust her?

        Does JRM or any leaver MP think the remainers are going to stop every trick in the book to change? Has there been some utopia or change we are not aware of, has the civil service suddenly changed ?

        Oust her now or be a vassal state in perpetuity. I hope if the punishment extension is accepted by leave MPs then the 17.4 million people will vote with their feet as well at every election. If Corbyn goes the Tories are toast.

    3. Lifelogic
      March 26, 2018

      They are probably too busy dealing with gender/ethic background /pay rates and breakdown and the likes in the state sector to have time to do things like potholes. They probably think of them is free speed humps and another way to inconvenience motorists.

  2. Andy
    March 26, 2018

    All sensible ideas.

    And yet a few threads ago you complained about how much tax everyone pays.

    There is a direct link between how much tax you pay and how good your services are.

    Our roads, NHS, schools are all lousy because your party won’t make people pay for them.

    This is really not a hard equation.

    1. Lifelogic.
      March 26, 2018

      Taxes are indeed way too high and public services still generally dreadful. Both these things are true. The state sector is hugely inefficient and spends the money mainly on totally the wrong things, very inefficiently too.

      From the current absurdly high levels of tax (the highest for 40 years) then raising taxes further would decrease receipts not increase them. Reducing them would actually raise more in the long term.

    2. matthu
      March 26, 2018

      “There is a direct link between how much tax you pay and how good your services are.”

      This is blatant nonsense.

      It totally ignores amounts spent on executive pay, unaffordable pensions, EU contributions, overseas aid and the like. Otherwise the current state of our roads might suggest that taxes have never been lower, whereas the exact opposite is closer to the truth.

      1. Andy
        March 26, 2018

        When Tony Blair was PM huge amounts were pumped into the NHS and services massively improved. Blair did the dodgy by paying for it all on the national credit card – but at least the service were pretty good.

        The Tories come in, health spending gets squeezed and – hey presto – people die en masse in corridors and operations are cancelled in their tens of thousands. Managed to get a GP appointment recently? No, thought not.

        Most of you are, clearly, pensioners. And the simple fact is that by far the biggest chunk of government spending goes on …. pensioners. State pensions, social care, complex health needs etc etc etc. You guys are massively subsidised by taxpayers – like me.

        And, no. Most of you have not contributed more to the system than you now take out. You are a financial drain on the state. But don’t worry. I don’t mind paying my taxes. It is the price of a decent society – and my little family will help support you. But a thank you would be nice because, frankly, you should have saved for your own old age.

        1. Edward2
          March 27, 2018

          Do you feel the same way about poor people who are young?

          PS pensioners pay tax.

          1. Andy
            March 27, 2018

            I believe we should help all poor people – but particularly the young.

            My issue with pensioners is the ludicrous entitlements the rich ones get too.

            Rich young and middle aged people don’t get help. But if you’re rich and old – and a lot of pensioners are – the state rolls out the red carpet.

            And, yes, rich includes those who are cash poor but who own a house. You can sell it.

          2. Edward2
            March 27, 2018

            So it’s not old age that you have a thing about in genetal just rich old people.
            If old people are rich they pay lots of tax and therefore contribute well to society.
            Or they will when the die via inheritance tax.

            Your hatred of pensioners is irrational and illogical.

        2. Anonymous
          March 27, 2018

          Had NI and private pensions been treated properly there would be ample for pensioners.

          They paid for their retirements many times over.

        3. libertarian
          March 27, 2018


          “When Tony Blair was PM huge amounts were pumped into the NHS and services massively improved”

          Really ? Mid Staffs, Tun Wells Maidstone, MRSA

          According to LSE you are wrong Andy


          Is there ANY subject of which you aren’t ignorant ?

    3. eeyore
      March 26, 2018

      HMG trousers £37 of every £100 that people earn in Britain. In a free country that is quite enough.

      Interesting that all the things Andy says are lousy are publicly run. Why doesn’t he draw the obvious conclusion?

      1. Lifelogic
        March 26, 2018

        Rather more than that.

        NI employee and employer and basic rate tax can take over 37% alone then you spend the money which has say 20% of vat (or 80% of petrol or 80% of a bottle of gin), plus the council tax, rates, stamp duty up to 15%, cgt, rates, parking fines, bus lane fines, planning frees, building reg. fees and all the rest.

        In the years you move house your tax rate may be well over 100% of you income due to stamp duty at 15%

        Then 40% when you finally drop dead, plus they devalue the money in pocket & bank account (even after you earned it and paid tax on it).

    4. duncan
      March 26, 2018

      ‘There is a direct link between how much tax you pay and how good your services are.’

      What absolute rubbish. More NHS spending equals more waste and employee arrogance.

      The Mid Staffs scandal happened when NHS spending was at its peak. More NHS spending didn’t improve care for NHS patients

      When things go wrong in the NHS staff are too blame, not levels of NHS spending

      The NHS needs huge reform. It’s become little more than an employee-union vested interest with the patient’s interest coming a distant second as a priority

      1. Fedupsoutherner
        March 26, 2018

        Agree Duncan. I’ve just been discharged from hospital after having a total knee replacement. They got my meds wrong to take home with me so I was left sitting on an uncomfortable chair for over 7 hours while the correct meds were prescribed. The system our hospital is using is dire and loads of time for both my husband who had to wait to take me home and the cost to the NHS in time is unacceptable.

    5. Richard1
      March 26, 2018

      Tax /GDP in Switzerland Hong Kong and Singapore is much lower than in the U.K. but public services are much better, how do you square that? There are numerous other examples.

      1. Lifelogic
        March 26, 2018

        Better life expectancy in Hong Kong too – and with far less as a % of GDP spent on Health Care.

        We could easily move to Swiss GDP (double the UKs) with government expenditure at more like 30% (of this much higher GDP) but socialists Hammond & May are clearly aiming for more like 50% and dreadful service too. Gender pay reporting, building on EU worker right and maintaining the dire monopoly NHS are clearly far more important to them.

      2. acorn
        March 26, 2018

        Singapore and Switzerland run massive Current Account surpluses. Hong Kong is still in surplus, but not as much as it used to before the 2008 crash. Hence, lower taxes.

    6. Ian wragg
      March 26, 2018

      There is no connection between the amount of tax the motorist pays and the state of the roads. All governments use motorists as tax cows because their socialist residencies mean that they would like us to use inefficient public transport.
      Even the Tories dislike the freedom motorists enjoy.

      1. nigel seymour
        March 26, 2018

        Agree, Motoring is a huge tax take for the gov and they love this because it involves VAT at 20% – this includes every damn thing involved in owning a car. My Mercedes bill was recently £1100 and I’ll leave you to ponder the gov take. I don’t have a problem with tax but when road tax probably goes to everywhere except ROADS then we need to start asking some real questions…

    7. Anonymous
      March 26, 2018

      My council tax is 2.5k a year. I pay a lot in road and fuel tax too. The roads are in a state and litter is terrible – mainly because of the open recycling bins that we must put out the night before collection. Any weight put on top to keep it down will result in non collection.

      It doesn’t seem like good value for money.

      1. Andy
        March 26, 2018

        There is a solution. Stand for election to your local council.

        You believe everyone else does a bad job. Get elected and you can help fix it.

        Stop being part of the problem, be a part of the solution.

        1. Anonymous
          March 27, 2018

          How about you too, Andy ?

          I’m busy working and paying for kids on long courses studying STEM at Russell Groups.

        2. libertarian
          March 27, 2018


          Take your own advice, stop bleating on here , join the LibDems & get elected on a Remain in the EU ticket. All those Youth votes just waiting to elect you

          You’ve nothing else to do now your multimillion pound business is bust and you are sacking all your staff

        3. a-tracy
          March 29, 2018

          Andy,I don’t know about your Council but ours pays Senior Streetclean Managers on around £50k plus junior assistants to the Senior assistant and a whole host of other staff, we have a right to demand the service we are paying for without having to run as a Councillor whose responsibility should only be to give the Manager that is paid to Manage the service our complaints or ask the person above them to discipline them. We used to have regular meetings our conservative council and labour council did away with them, our area was much better when we could hold them responsible ourselves without relying on paid Councillors who don’t seem to notice!

    8. Bob
      March 26, 2018

      Come back Unamie5 and Bazman, all is forgiven.

    9. sm
      March 26, 2018

      Well the answer is obvious, all salaries/wages/earnings must be paid directly to HMRC, and each worker/pensioner/student will be paid a strictly-graded allowance to cover basic rent, food, heating and travel costs.

      Such allowances will be decided by the Government of the day, who will of course be totally trusted to spend such vast income in a wise and efficient manner at all times, and will never descend to pork-barrel politics to ensure that it gets re-elected.

      The proletariat will henceforth be eternally grateful for the wisdom and unselfishness of the Beloved Rulers.


      1. ian wragg
        March 26, 2018

        Sound a bit like what the EU is trying to achieve.
        What comment on the latest Brussels wheeze where we are to be excluded from accessing Galileo GPS as we will become a security risk after Brexit.
        Never mind that we have paid 15% of the cost and China will have access,
        I hope May is making it clear that our armed forces and intelligence gathering network is not available to Brussels.

        1. WA Laugh
          March 29, 2018

          On the one hand the UK has been paying 12% of the expenses of the Galileo program and on the other hand getting 15% of the money spent, as a large fraction of the « hardware » is being built in the UK.

      2. Lifelogic
        March 26, 2018

        May and Hammond clearly have this in mind and Corbyn will perhaps finish the project!

    10. Know-Dice
      March 26, 2018

      It’s not just money, it’s deliberate council policy to attempt to force car drivers to use alternative means of transport.

      But, that doesn’t work when you are talking about sick patients trying to access hospital services. Just try and park or even drop-off/pick-up somebody at Royal Berkshire Hospital.

    11. A.Sedgwick
      March 26, 2018

      Motorists are vastly in credit with their taxes over road expenditure.

      1. Leslie Singleton
        March 26, 2018

        Dear A. Sedgwick–Unarguably true, yet they are now talking about hypothecation–How wrong or simply naive can these twerps be? (Extremely, apparently).

    12. NigelE
      March 26, 2018

      Your equation is flawed. Yes, there is a direct relationship between money in and services out but you have forgotten to factor is waste.

      i.e. Money in = services out + waste in the system.

      An alternative way of looking at it is:

      Efficiency = (services out) divided by (money in) times 100 (to express as a percentage).

      What would you estimate the efficiency of organisations such as the NHS, local councils etc?

      Increasing money in will make little improvement if efficiency is low.

    13. libertarian
      March 26, 2018


      The direct link between how much they tax us and the services they provide comes down to how good they are at providing essential services and the vast amount of money they waste on pork barrel , boondoggle , virtue signalling and dreadful management

      There is NO link between how much we pay and what we get for it. That is why the EU is such a bad idea too

      You claim to run a multimillion business if you really did you’d know this already

      Sacked your staff yet?

      1. Bob
        March 27, 2018

        “You claim to run a multimillion business…”

        and I invented the internet 😂

    14. Ron Olden
      March 26, 2018

      Our NHS is not ‘lousy’ because of lack of money.

      It’s lousy because of the colossal level of waste that is endemic in the system. Those of us who have the misfortune to have to rely on it, see how wasteful it is every time we visit a hospital and a GP.

      It’s the fifth largest employer in the world and could soon be the third behind the Chinese and US Military.

      It has one of the lowest capital and labour productivity, and absenteeism rates of any Western Health Service, it’s operating theatres are in use for no more than an average of about 20% of the hours in any week. It spends 30% of its income on paying index linked final salary pensions to people who no longer work there, (it’s not uncommon for staff too receive an NHS Pension for nearly as long as they’ve actually worked in it), and pays its’ staff more money than 90% of the patients earn.

      If anyone seriously thinks it’s not getting enough money or is fool enough to believe that spending more on it will make it any better, they don’t need to sit back writing letters to blogs demanding higher taxes. They can just send a voluntary extra tax contribution to their local hospital themselves.

      Incidentally, Labour has been in power in Wales for 20 years, and I don’t see them using their Tax raising powers there to raise more money to waste on the Welsh NHS (which is, by common consent the worst in the UK).

      In fact they refuse to spend the money allocated to them, by London for Health. They’ve just been given another £210 Million to match the money being spent in England on the big pay settlement, but are showing a marked reluctance to spend it on the same pay rise.

      It appears they are of the view that Welsh NHS pay is high enough as it is, and intend to spend the money employing yet more staff instead. If Hunt did that, he’d be lynched.

      The best comment on the NHS came from Aneurin Bevan who set it up. He said that:-

      ‘we stuffed the doctor’s mouths with gold’

      And we’ve been doing the same thing , (and its’ been ‘stuffing us’), ever since.

    15. acorn
      March 26, 2018

      Andy, there is no direct connection between taxation and government spending. All taxation ends up in just one of the four primary accounts the government has. The concept of hypothicating specific taxes to a particular part of the public sector, is strictly for conning the proletariat.

      Consolidated Fund; where the government’s revenues and taxes are collected before the Treasury sends them back to the National Loans Fund.

      National Loans Fund; where the magic money tree lives and creates brand new money every day and extinguishes the old money that comes back as taxes, every day. Taxes are not recycled into future spending, they are just numbers in a spreadsheet.

      Contingencies Fund (somebody got the sums wrong, needs cash pronto)

      Exchange Equalisation Account (Gold; foreign currencies and similar assets used to protect Sterling in the FX market)

  3. Nig l
    March 26, 2018

    In my area there are often on road cycling lanes delineated by faded yellow lines, hardly much of an indication to drivers and not joined up where the road narrows.

    All such lanes should be protected by a low Armco or similar barrier and where roads narrow, space can be taken by from the verges.

    Every local authority should have a dedicated lane budget with an annual target of lanes created/protected and a dedicated cycling officer whose job it is to achieve that.

    New estates should have cycle lanes as mandatory. Authorities just love fines for straying into often under used or poorly displayed bus lanes, fines should be imposed for straying into cycle lanes.

    Councils crow about their cycle lane networks but progress is glacial and comparisons with many areas on the continent, pathetic.

    1. Know-Dice
      March 26, 2018

      “All such lanes should be protected by a low Armco or similar barrier and where roads narrow, space can be taken by from the verges.”

      That is what has been done around here and cyclist then tend to stay on the road because it gives them “right of way” at junctions…

    2. Roller skater
      March 27, 2018

      Cycles should be banned anywhere near cars, buses, trucks and pedestrians and well away from other cyclists too.Your body is not designed to go at 30-45mph with just a lego hat for protection and no protection for pedestrians at all as it is invariably ridden by the usual.

  4. Dave Andrews
    March 26, 2018

    Poor road conditions will continue, all the time local councils have to pay for repairs out of the same pot as is used for their statutory duties in adult and children services, both items where demand has mushroomed. Strangely though, there seems to be ample funds available for executive pay.
    What is needed is separate accounting for roadworks, provided by a separate arm of the local council.

    1. libertarian
      March 26, 2018

      Dave Andrews

      Its more of a mess than that. Motorways and major A roads are maintained by Highways England, other roads by County Councils

    2. acorn
      March 26, 2018

      The department for Transport already does that. Highways England spends circa £4.2 billion; County Councils circa £1.8 billion. Another £1.2 billion goes into the London system but not all on Tarmac. Say £7 billion.

      Motorists payed in circa £42 billion. There is also the cost of pulling people out of car wrecks and repairing / rehabilitating them Hospitals and other public sector facilities.

  5. Lifelogic.
    March 26, 2018

    All sensible stuff, but government policy seems to be to deliberately block the roads and actually cause more congestion wherever they can. Thus hugely damaging the economy and productivity. This has been government policy under at least the last four and the current PM. All justified by climate alarmism and the “bikes, buses, trains good, cars, trucks planes bad” religion. Plus Hammond deters people from moving closer to work with his absurd levels of stamp duty.

    Similarly we have the dire NHS religion, where the last few Governments all agree and have it have it totally wrong. “I’ll hire 3,000 midwives and save 700 babies a year”, says Jeremy Hunt. This, I assume, is an admission of just how much damage our current dire state monopoly “free” NHS is doing. These babies are, I assume, just a prices worth paying in his opinion for the “free at the point of need and envy of the world religion”. These babies are just the tip of a very unpleasant iceberg. Hunt needs to save these 700 babies now and not after many years of training new midwives after perhaps another 3500 damages lives. Surely these 700 babies are worth it?

  6. Know-Dice
    March 26, 2018

    Mr Redwood,

    May be you should let your views be known to the Wokingham Borough and Reading Councils, both of which seem to specialise in slowing down traffic flows….

    1. miami.mode
      March 26, 2018

      K-D. On a complaint to a local council about cars parked on a reasonably busy road, the answer was that they would not change anything as negotiating the parked cars produced a calming effect on the traffic.

      Difficult to argue with their attitude.

      1. Bob
        March 27, 2018

        An uncharacteristically practical approach.
        I would expect most councils to clear the parked vehicles and install speed bumps.

  7. jerry
    March 26, 2018

    It would have been nice had the local councils and highways been able to repair damaged roads before they start to disintegrate into potholes, by the time a pothole appears there is already much damage, after all we already pay very high taxes to use the roads.

    A stitch in time saves nine as my grandmother used to say! Years ago it was common to see someone with a bucket of hot pitch filling in simple cracks during the warmer weather, thus when the rains and frosts come the water can not get under the surface, but those sorts of preventive repairs have gone due to spending cuts.

    As for your list;
    4/. Indeed, but we also need better regulation of private car park operators, if fines are to be placed then they need to be attached to the vehicle at the time of the offence, sending notice of the fine to the vehicles registered keeper up to three months later, this would mean car parks have to be monitored in real time locally and in real time, thus put an end to automated ‘ANPR’ style systems being used to issue fines when no other offence has been committed other than ‘fat finger’ on the ticket machine for example.

    7/. Cycleways are a good idea but many have been built but are little used, at least around my area, there need to be action by the govt. to make cyclists use such routes, just as there needs to be action to stop cyclists using non-designated pavements as cycleways. Above all, govt needs to make cyclists aware that whilst they have just as much right to use the roads as anyone else they are not above the laws of the roads nor do they have greater rights than pedestrians (and horses). An aside, all cyclists should have to have a minimum of third party insurance.

    8/. As I said the last time you suggested this, are you seriously suggesting that two sets of services be laid along each road so they never need to cross the road to the other side?! Oh and how does one make easier access points for every inch of a pipe or cable, after all a fault can occur at any point.

  8. majorfrustration
    March 26, 2018

    How on earth can the Government justify a foreign aid budget when so much needs to be done in this country.

    1. Pugwash
      March 26, 2018

      It is to be hoped the government doesn’t plan the roads for them as part of the aid deal. That would indeed be a waste of money

    2. Fedupsoutherner
      March 26, 2018

      Major. Totally agree.

    3. nigel seymour
      March 26, 2018

      Agree. Spend it on keeping our roads safe from pot holes…

  9. Lifelogic.
    March 26, 2018

    9. Clearer signs for times of bus lanes, with more use of lanes by other vehicles outside peaks

    This seems rather unlikely to happen. The whole point of the largely empty bus lanes is to mug motorists, the last thing these muggers want is clear and simple signs. I remember one in Kentish Town that used to catch thousands every Saturday by having different and totally irrational hours that day than the clearer Mon to Friday rush hour ones. Is it safe for drivers to have to read all these long notices (which often change hours too) while driving?

    The buses are largely empty too. Over the whole of the day (depot to depot) the average bus occupancy can be as five or six. So not very green or efficient either. So why do they get half of the road space?

    Having driven through the Blackwall Tunnel to day there is a desperate need for more capacity here at least double, and has been for very many years. But nothing is done you can observe the expensive Millenium Dome and the cable cars as you sit in the jam for an hour though. To depress you about government stupidity.

    1. Stephen Robertson
      March 26, 2018

      I’ve thought for a long time that bus lane signage and rules need to be simpler.

      Given the large amount of roadside sign clutter it’s very easy to miss signs, plus trying to read tiny writing whilst driving takes drivers eyes off the road.

      Perhaps it’s about time there were only three types of bus lane, each with different coloured tarmac:
      Red – 24 hours
      Blue – All day 7am-7pm
      Green – Peak hours, e.g. 7am-10am, 4pm-7pm

      These colours and hours would be standardised across the country.

      This way it’s immediately obvious to the driver what hours a bus lane operates just by looking at the road colour. If it’s too expensive to colour the whole lane, then a coloured border would suffice.

  10. ChrisS
    March 26, 2018

    Potholes mostly appear because water gets into cracks in the road surface and expands when it freezes thus breaking up the surface. Heavy vehicles do the rest.

    The reason countries such as Austria have excellent road surfaces despite many bouts of snow, rain and sub-zero temperatures throughout the winter is because they resurface them more often than we do. As a result, there are far fewer cracks in the top coat.

    This last weekend I have driven 450 round trip to Derbyshire and I have to say it was the best trip I have been on in the UK for years with no long and empty road works and no accidents either.

    I came back via the M6 toll road which was as empty as a French Autoroute.

    We have to accept that this government, nor any other, is ever going to spend the right amount of money on new roads. Almost all politicians are stupidly fixated on wasting money on HS2 which less than 5% of the population will ever use while new roads would be used by almost everybody.

    We should therefore allow many more toll motorways to be built. I would invite the UK arms of French operators like Vinci Autoroutes to tender to build and run them. They have a track record of rapidly building and operating smooth, safe Autoroutes which are well maintained.

    The first candidates should be a Dover to Plymouth coastal motorway, the second, one from Southampton to Bristol and then a replacement for the shameful A9 in Scotland with its detestable average speed cameras.

    All new toll motorways should have a 80mph speed limit equivalent to the 130kph one on the entire French network.

    By the way, while Germany may have a lot more Autobahns than we do, Merkel refuses to spend money on them and they are in an even more appalling condition than ours.

  11. Epikouros
    March 26, 2018

    I am lead to believe the cost of filling in potholes and improving poor road surfaces which the UK have a considerable number is somewhere in the region of £12 billion an rising. Another problem is the inadequate provision and bad design of our roads. It has come about mostly because of neglect by successive governments and poor management.

    Another example of the state being solely in charge of a system in this case roads and not up to the task of being able supply demand in either sufficient quantity, quality or cost effectively. Yet we continue to increase the numbers of roles government it has to participate in, always extending its powers and scope and abdicating to it more and more of our responsibilities. A recipe for the imposition of mediocrity and dysfunction at best and total chaos, impoverishment and the complete breakdown of society at worst. From my point of observation I would suggest the latter not only here in the UK but much of the West is sooner or later going to be the outcome.

  12. ferdinand
    March 26, 2018

    I don’t think £100 would go far .

    1. Pugwash
      March 26, 2018

      Is there any amount on Earth which would go far with a local authority?

    2. nigel seymour
      March 26, 2018

      Lot’s have already picked up on this – should it have been £100,000,000,000?

  13. Bryan Harris
    March 26, 2018

    Yes, OK, that wil help – but there has to be enormous scope for freeing up our transport systems, by encouraging companies to setup their employees so that they can work from home frequently …

    ALSO – I’ve yet to see a real survey of what journeys are made, and why – If you don’t understand where people need to get to, and why…. in other words, if you do not underestand the problem, how in God’s name are you going to come up with plans to manipulate the traffic flow, and reduce unnecessary jams?

  14. Ron Olden
    March 26, 2018

    Sudden outbreaks of pot holes occur because of freezing temperatures, followed by sudden rises in temperature, repeated over short periods of time, causing the road surface to fragment e.g. in cold snaps like we’ve had recently.

    Ground water expands when it freezes, and contracts again when it thaws, causing structural failure, leaving pools of water in the holes, which can sometimes be acidic, or at the very least salty from sea air or from the grit that’s used on the road to stop it becoming icy.

    Experiment for yourselves by freezing a pasty, let it thaw, then freeze it and defrost it again. You’ll be left with a lump of filling and a pile of pastry fragments after one or two goes. Roads however have to endure with this for weeks at a time, whilst simultaneously being pounded by heavy lorries, tractors, and even steamrollers, on their way to jobs and being sprayed with salt.

    The UK has a lot of road mileage for its’ size, and a lot of salty air. But we can’t keep an army of pot hole fixers on standby for several years in case there’s a cold snap.

    By their very nature pot holes all come at once, and there’s little that can be done in advance to prevent them, except at gigantic cost.

    The last big outbreak was around 2011, when we had a very cold winter. It’s been much milder in recent years.

    Perhaps it will all get better when the benefits of Global Warming reach the UK. I hope Caroline Lucas is reading this, and hasn’t tripped over a pot hole in salty aired Brighton Pavilion.

    1. Ken Moore
      March 26, 2018

      Potholes occur when the road is badly maintained. A well surfaced road that is routinely top dressed and sealed properly will be impenetrable to surface water and unlikely to suffer frost damage.

      Councils now are more interested in diversity and global warming than dredging rivers and maintaining roads. The useless Tory party has proven to be as bad or worse than Labour in getting the important but boring things done.

  15. JM
    March 26, 2018

    4. On street parking is good, silent traffic calming. Clear the streets and you turn them into racetracks.

    5. This primarily an issue of inconsiderate behaviour on the part of parents dropping off. I never cease to be amazed at the number of parents who drive short distances to take their children to school when they could walk.

    7. It is dangerous to promote the idea that cyclists do not belong on roads. They do. Road bikes are designed for use on roads and are dangerous to use off the road. Cycling infrastructure is often poorly designed and surfaced – gravel instead of tarmac. Pavements are not cycleways despite what many councils seem to think. The Belgian example is the one to follow. By suggesting that cyclists do not belong on roads, you give licence to the idiots who seek literally to drive cyclists off the roads. (Before anyone says cyclists pay no vehicle excise duty; it is a myth that cyclists do not also own cars. Also many cyclists are insured notwithstanding that in any collision with a motor vehicle they will always come a very poor second.)

    Potholes – given that the Treasury raises over £30billion a year from motorists and spends but a fraction of this on road maintenance, there seems to me to be some scope for improvement here. The motorist is already paying handsomely for road use.

    Free parking in town centres is the way forward. Daily now we read of high street shops closing. This is down to three primary factors: the ease of internet shopping, the fact that internet businesses pay very low business rates compared to high street shops and the fact that it is expensive to drive into town and park. Two of these issues lie in the hands of the Government.

  16. Adam
    March 26, 2018

    A Conservative Motorway, with the slower flow at its linear centre, needs only one emergency lane & no lane-consuming metal barrier.

    Its design increases the drive space of a typical motorway by 33%.

    Increased space reduces accidents & jams, & enables faster fuel-efficient motion.

    Road providers should envision safer solutions outside their mental barriers.

    1. Anonymous
      March 26, 2018

      Wow !

    2. Beecee
      March 26, 2018

      This has been posted before – on April 1st I think?

      The mayhem as slower traffic crosses the faster traffic lanes to exit and join our existing motorways………….!!!

      Nuff said.

      1. Adam
        March 27, 2018


        The claimed mayhem is confined within your false assumption.

        Conservative Motorway traffic enters & exits left.

  17. Iain Gill
    March 26, 2018

    Good luck trying to stir things up with some new ideas John.

    I think the road fashions embedded in councils, highways England, and their design and engineering consultancies are far too embedded with “group think”. they have collectively over the last decades invented a lot of ideologies on how to setup and manage roads all on their own, with little proper scientific peer review, and little proper democratic debate. lots of things these people advocate in public can be easily disproved with a basic science education. that they have been allowed to evolve to this point is a fundamental problem with the way the British system works. they are immune to facts, proper science, and the democratic process has little impact as all of the main parties are embedded in their thought processes.

    So I dont think a few reasonable ideas are enough. Lots of stuff has been produced by the “association of British drivers” which is broadly sensible, but the “group think” crowd have been arrogant enough to dismiss it all.

    As for roads crossing railways, its far too easy for Network Rail to simply shut the crossing. It reduces their risk of accidents, and pushed the costs of the problem (big diversions) onto the public. This is all part of the problem with the way they are measured and incentivised.

    Anyways good luck.

  18. English Pensioner
    March 26, 2018

    Around here, potholes never seem to br repaired properly. One near my home has already been ‘repaired’ twice during the last 18 months and needs repairing again. This is where the money is going, poor quality work or materials with contractors who don’t mind being paid several times for the same job. From my experience elsewhere, I am aware that it is absolutely essential to have competent people inspecting the work to ensure that the job is done properly. Councils certainly don’t believe in the old adage “A stitch in time . . . . . . “, but the reverse, they wait until a repair is absolutely essential before taking action.
    It’s not only roads, it’s buildings like schools where minor repairs are neglected until they become a serious problem. It’s so easy to defer, say, routine painting, when money is short, but it costs more in the long run.
    Again, from experience, I’m aware that if money is short for any reason, the first area to be cut is routine maintenance, it’s so easy to postpone. But the money is never allocated in the following financial year to catch up on the backlog; no it “proves” to the accountants that the work wasn’t needed as nothing has gone wrong without it.

  19. chris f
    March 26, 2018

    Meanwhile, in Guildford, one of the main arterial roads to/through town is due to have work done on it due to a cycle lane being enhanced (which is rarely used at all). It will make the M25 at rush-hour look like a fast-flowing river in comparison

    This is scheduled to last for…wait for it….20 weeks! 20???

    I dispair, I really do.

    1. Lifelogic
      March 26, 2018

      We are led by Greencrap, PC, donkeys!

  20. mike fowle
    March 26, 2018

    Is there a problem with the materials used for pothole repair? I think Christopher Booker said some time ago that councils were no longer permitted to use bitumen (carcinogenic). Certainly repairs don’t seem to last any time at all. I have seen on line surfaces made from plastic pellets. Is that very expensive. It would seem to kill two birds with one stone.

  21. British Spy
    March 26, 2018

    The British have problems with roads even in warm weather. Transport and road building died a death when the Romans left. It only took them two attempts to successfully get across the channel too without cancellations and strikes affecting their invasion force.

    I’ve driven alot in South Africa, before everyone became excruciatingly happy there. Snow and ice does form there but not where I ventured.But intense heat and rainstorms can harm roads but my journeys were pretty smooth in fact perfect. Zulus on motorbikes through townships never hit any bumps as they raced ahead of me and down side roads. So we’re doing something wrong in the UK with roads and we should study other countries more and ask their advice and stop being know-it-alls. Think of it, in my over half a century of life, roads and transport on this tiny island is the subject of the day every day. We are lousy at road building.

  22. L Jones
    March 26, 2018

    If more money is needed for the maintenance of roads (motorways at least), why are we not charging vehicles from overseas to use them?

  23. Turboterrier.
    March 26, 2018

    The country does not help itself.
    Here in the rural areas on the west coast of dictatorship Scotland farmers now have to send the beasts and lambs to Carlisle or Glasgow or Perth creating hundreds of miles of travelling. Whatever happened to the local slaughter house? In a 20 mile radius around the largest farm in the area are 60 farms all producing Scotch lamb , between them 50K lambs are sent to slaughter in articulated lorries every year. This farmer wants to build his own slaughter house or even use a mobile on as in Australia, it reduces the stress on the animals and reduces pollution. He is not allowed and cannot get planning permission.
    The politicians talk about developing the rural areas, they couldn’t develop a cold. Start building the plant infrastructure to take heavy vehicles off the roads and at least reduce their length of journey times. Smaller units could be used to transport the live stock. It creates real jobs and opportunities.

    The roads in south west Scotland are being destroyed by wood lorries, turbine lorries,tractors and other heavy plant building massive Bio Digester units all the foregoing receiving subsidies. Not one of them provides any extra jobs or careers to keep youngsters from moving away for a better future.

    Don’t hit the general public to raise all the money needed start with allowing councils to charge business rates for all those properties with PV solar panels selling energy to the grid, tax the land owners who lease land for turbines, solar, bio digester and bio mass it is un-earnt income, leave them 20% net profit the other 80% goes into funding the roads which their plant and machinery has help damage. It would raise millions for the councils and then they would have to be seen to spending it wisely and efficiently on repairing and replacing worn out roads.

    Rural areas rely on tourism and time and time again people leave notes in visitors books stating will not be back. Roads terrible too much rubbish and too many turbines, Keep going our Nic you are totally destroying your and our country

  24. miami.mode
    March 26, 2018

    If government carries on with policies of getting rid of fossil fuel transport and fossil fuel power stations, then the problem will solve itself as in 20 years or so cars will almost be redundant as according to Gridwatch wind is currently producing 0.77% of electricity.

  25. Denis Cooper
    March 26, 2018

    Also off-topic, when David Davis agreed to the system of colour coding of sections of the draft withdrawal agreement did it not occur to him than the parts proposed by the EU Commission but NOT agreed should perhaps been coded red, rather than left black and white giving the likes of Andrew Marr another opportunity for distortion?


    “The Irish border. The Prime Minister could not have been clearer in the House of Commons. She said no British Prime Minister could possibly accept the backstop deal whereby Northern Ireland would be part of the customs union and the single market.
    It couldn’t happen. And yet there it is still in black and white in the legal text that you’ve agreed. Why?”


    “In green, the text is agreed at negotiators’ level and will only be subject to technical legal revisions in the coming weeks.

    In yellow, the text is agreed on the policy objective but drafting changes or clarifications are still required.

    In white, the text corresponds to text proposed by the Union on which discussions are ongoing as no agreement has yet been found.”

    And now today it seems this bad idea is being floated again, that all parts of the UK economy to do with goods should remain subject to all EU law, even if they are goods which are never exported outside the UK:


    “U.K. Brexit negotiators are developing a plan to solve the Irish border issue by keeping the whole of the U.K. aligned with a subset of the EU’s single market rules, according to British officials.”

    “The starting point of the U.K.’s position will be that “full alignment” should apply to goods and a limited number of services sectors, one U.K. official said.”

    Once again I would like to point out that exports to the EU involve only 12% of UK GDP and about 6% of UK businesses, and yet every EU rule has to apply to the whole of the UK economy and all UK businesses, and if all of our international trading partners insisted on a similar absurd condition that if we want to export anything to them we must obey all of their laws then there would be a certain amount of legal chaos in the country as the US law conflicted with the EU law and they both contradicted the Chinese law …

    Why in God’s name did our government and Parliament ever agree to this unwarranted elevation of EEC/EC/EU law above all other law including our own law, while of course not extending that same privilege to any other of our trading partners? Nothing to do with a secret plan for our absorption into a federal United States of Europe, was it?

  26. Wombat
    March 26, 2018

    I see the Pound is down a bit today because of Labour’s Owen and Starmer causing uncertainty.They never think of Country and act only because of their peevishness at losing. I’d never wish to play cricket against these two, they would insist on playing Australian-style

  27. nigel seymour
    March 26, 2018

    J, Another additional £100 , blimey shock horror!

    However you report this the facts across the country are that road maintenance has been underfunded for years and years and years. No political party or government have the slightest interest in mending roads. Suggest people listen to yesterdays radio 5 where a mother talks about the death of her son when he swerved to avoid and pot hole and was hit by a car and died. I use my digi camera and report as many as I can

  28. Sakara Gold
    March 26, 2018

    Tarmac is made from a mixture of graded gravel and bitumen, which is a convenient way to dispose of a waste product from the oil refining industry. The tarmac is rolled hot and in this country it is laid to an insufficient depth to withstand the heavy traffic on the roads, hence the potholes.

    Once temperatures fall below minus 2 C or so, the bitumen also becomes brittle and cracks. If the temperature warms up, water seeps into the cracks and should the temperature fall below zero again, the water freezes and expands and breaks up the surface.

    The solution to this recurrent problem is to lay the tarmac to a reasonable depth in the first place, and to use atactic modified bitumen in the mix to give the tarmac a modicum of flexibility wrt temperature fluctuations.

    Taking more tax from motorists just increases the size of government and ultimately a lot of it will get spent paying index-linked final salary pensions for those fortunate to have been given one of the jobs for the boys in a QUANGO or in local government.

  29. majorfrustration
    March 26, 2018

    Small beer I know but my green waste was not collected last week and when I spoke to Horsham District Council I was advised that it would be picked up within 24hours. Later that week when the waste still remained uncollected I was advised that it had been collected !! I pointed out that surely the council should validate verify rather than placidly accepted what they were told. Despite continued assurances the green waste and that of my neighbours remains uncollected. Essentially the Council has paid employees for non performance and I have paid a special premium for no service. Could this be regarded as fraud?

  30. The Russians Did It
    March 26, 2018

    Those are all good ideas for reducing congestion, but at the same time the government is still allowing immigration to run at unsustainable levels meaning none of those 10 points will make any difference at all.

    Given the conservatives will not address the issues that matter, I am left looking elsewhere and I will vote for an alternative on principle. If enough people did the same, then we might actually get some change.

  31. Denis Cooper
    March 26, 2018

    Off-topic, just listen to this exchange between the chairman of the Commons Brexit committee, WHO IS AN UTTER DISGRACE, and the expert witness, from 9:46:25 –

    Hilary Benn –

    “And just finally on this point, can you think of any other border in the world where the two countries involved are not in an internal market, or in a customs union, where there is the kind of flow of goods without any checks that you have just described?”

    Dr Lars Karlsson –

    “Well, first of all, no, the answer to the question is that there isn’t, there doesn’t exist an example like that; however that doesn’t mean that within the international customs law, the international standards and good practice, there couldn’t be a system like that.”

    NB – “… however that doesn’t mean … there couldn’t be a system like that … “;

    but when Hilary Benn and his fellow deceitful Remoaners talk about it they deliberately ignore that second part and just say that there is no example in the world.

    The fact is that if there are going to be a problem at the Irish border that will because his friends in the EU want to unnecessarily create a problem, not solve a problem.

    1. Denis Cooper
      March 26, 2018



      No transcript available yet, and I don’t suppose the chairman will be in any hurry to get one produced.

      1. Denis Cooper
        March 26, 2018

        Not least because he won’t want too many people reading how the witness told him at the end that the UK staying in a/the customs union with the EU would make no difference from a technical point of view …

        1. stred
          March 27, 2018

          Karlsson also said that it would take until the end of the ‘transition’ period to design and build such a system. But David Davis said that Hammond was saving the money, apparently, as the need is not known. Another MP questioned the expert and asked whether the existing cameras could be adapted and the answer was yes. But Mrs May, in the HoC yesterday, said that we will be prepared for all eventualities.

          Who is kidding who? If we don’t have a customs management system in place, then we will not have any alternative but to continue under EU regulations and tariffs, plus all the rest. Perhaps that is what they are aiming for.

          1. Denis Cooper
            March 27, 2018

            Or we decide to forego a small amount of customs revenue until that system is in place. What would be the duties on £2.4 billion trade each year? It would be a drop in the ocean.

  32. ian
    March 26, 2018

    I think there is an opportunity in the NSH to have it funded locally by each area without any political involvement by parties. National insurance is about 130 billion pounds, about the same as it cost to run the NHS at the moment, that businesses and people pay in.
    I think it might be better because it would be up to local people and businesses to pay and sever themselves with the local health area.
    The government just needs to come up with the pay scale for businesses and people which is paid to the local health area, all people would pay not just people who are working, over the age of 22 years old.
    I think this would be better because people and businesses can have local fundraising events, local lottos, people and businesses would be happy to help out because it would save them money, businesses would come up with more ideas to save themselves money, the council would save money as well on social care, some people would give up their spear room to help people who are ready to leave hospital but have nowhere to go to save money on their yearly bill and stops bed blocking or just do it as an act of charity.

    I think local people and businesses are better placed to look after their local older people in their street or area, than gov and councils which in turn will save them money on their yearly bills, the neighbours in a street, looking in on older people to make sure they have food, heating, and have eaten that day, people would feel more responsible for what happened on their street and area, the health area can keep people and businesses up to date with newsletters of what going on, what their needs are, how crowdfunding is going or we need a new scaner, cost 1 million pounds, their 100,000 people in the area over the age of 22 we would like 10 pounds donation from each person to pay for it.

    The government is going to spend 20 billion extra on health over the next 7 years which it can not afford, the councils are going to charge million extra on your council tax for social care which you and they cannot afford, people and businesses need to save money.
    It’s would a big saving for the government and nobody want to see taxes going up and paid into the treasury only to disappear on something else, also people and businesses do not want their local taxes going up for social care only to be spent on something else.

  33. Ken Moore
    March 26, 2018

    Excellent but point one should be 1. reduce immigration to sustainable levels and acknowledge the Uk has a population problem. Otherwise any efficiency improvements will be swallowed up by demand for extra roadspace.

  34. ian
    March 26, 2018

    Health is one area where you can bring down local social barriers between people of different backgrounds because it would be their own local health service, with the opportunity of bringing down their own bills with businesses, should be great for mental health and drug takers and older people, because looking out for them is going to save them money and save gov and council money to, it would a win win win all around, gov might have put in some money for refugees and some areas where not a lot of people work but overal still save lots of money.

  35. Doug Powell
    March 26, 2018

    Potholes? Proper planning would help. At the moment a surveyor goes out and sprays paint around a pothole deemed to be in need of attention. Presumably he/she returns to the office and records the location of the pothole. Months later, when the paint has faded out of existence, or the pothole has increased so much that the painted line is now part of the rubble, a team turns up and throws some tarmac in! Yes, throws in! In previous generations the pothole would have been lined with bitumen to make a waterproof seal, and tarmac compacted, then levelled off with the surface of the road. Now, new tarmac is left as a mini bump, which is easily chewed up by tyres – and we have no waterproofing, so the first rain seeps between the layers, then the first frost expands it and pothole begins to degrade. Has anyone noticed how soon it is before the same potholes open up again?

    Possible solutions:
    1) There needs to be Pothole Teams that are empowered to make decisions regarding instant repair;
    2) Planned inspection regimes using Geographic Information – Inspect by Kilometre or half kilometre squares street by street – beginning, at say, the SW corner of a council area and working systematically across, then to begin again when completed – rather than going hither and thither to surveyor approved potholes, wasting time and fuel.

  36. Waggle
    March 26, 2018

    How about left turn on red?

    Allowing drivers to turn left on a red light when safe to do so.

  37. Anonymous
    March 26, 2018

    They’ve built loads of new housing estates around here.

    No new roads.

  38. ian
    March 26, 2018

    I think local health areas are better to run 10 to 20- year budget plans for local people than the government because of governments are changing all the time and also better on deciding how many new doctor and nurses they need to train or recruit and to provide incentives for young people in their areas to join up. The government and politician have shown over the years, that they have no idea.

  39. ian
    March 26, 2018

    If I pay my money to the local health area, I know I will get something for it.

    1. Mark B
      March 27, 2018

      Exactly ! Or, you can keep the money and use it for something else, if you wish.

  40. ian
    March 26, 2018

    Businesses and people with their local health area are quite capable of looking after themselves, there is no need for government to be involved at any level.

  41. L Jones
    March 26, 2018

    Traffic crisis + congestion crisis + schools crisis + NHS crisis + housing crisis

    = Population crisis

  42. BretW
    March 26, 2018

    Looks like you’re shying away from the real problems of the day..the involvement of Cambridge Analytics into the fray and what part they played in the referendum?..

    the potholes for their part can wait and can always be addressed in the usual way and over time.. the economy is not going to tank becausè some potholes in the roads …however if wrong decisions are made now about our political and trading future? .. well then? What future for anyone?

    I honestly think we should have another vote now as we understand much better and as a people have greater knowledge and understanding of what the vote means either way and what can await us .. we were so badly lied to last time that any reasonable person would have to agree that the result be declared null and void..after what i have heard over the past week or so i know now that will never accept the june 2016.

  43. BretW
    March 26, 2018

    Corr’n..the june 2016 vote.

  44. Raymond
    March 26, 2018

    I think there is something in JR’s ideas.
    I respectfully suggest they might be better honed with some input from traffic engineers, possibly from your own constituency.
    I have no connection to Wokingham but just read this blog.

  45. KZB
    March 28, 2018

    Number one on the list should be remove all current senior management from the Highways Agency and whatever departments are responsible for roads in Local Authorities.

    It is completely obvious that these people have perverse agenda. Their whole purpose is to increase the misery of motoring so that people give up. This is why they have been put in these posts.

    I also note how concerned people have become about delays at Customs borders with the EU. Funny how all of a sudden we are concerned about journey times after years of heaping misery on people with schemes to increase congestion.

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