Local councils are facing a shortfall of £16.3 billion in work to repair potholes on the UK’s roads, with new data saying that over half of roads in England and Wales are less than 15 years from complete structural failure.

The Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey, with the appropriate acronym of Alarm, predicts a bleak future for drivers if the funding for pothole repair continues at its present level. In November of last year the government announced an £8.3bn funding programme for resurfacing works, but councils say they would need an additional £1.2bn to meet their annual targets. Inflation and extreme weather events have further hampered maintenance efforts.

Published by the Asphalt Industry Alliance, the Alarm survey estimates a cost of £16.3bn to tackle the backlog of carriageway repairs.

“While the transport secretary stated that this additional £8.3bn over 11 years is enough to resurface 5,000 miles of local roads, this equates to just 2.5% of the network – or less than 0.25% per year,” said Rick Green, chair of the AIA. He believes there is a “mountain to climb” when it comes to improving the condition of local roads.

“Unfortunately, it will do little to address the scale of the issue with Alarm findings reporting that 11% of local roads are already in poor condition and likely to require maintenance in the next 12 months alone. We need to reach the point where local authority highway engineers are able to plan, and proactively carry out maintenance work in the most timely and efficient way, to the greatest benefit of all road users – rather than just having enough money to address immediate and urgent repairs,” said Green.

The critical state of the country’s roads is leading to a sharp increase in pothole-related breakdowns and emergency call outs, according to both the AA and the RAC.