Local roads looked after by the council are in best condition in London report says, but TfL needs to do more

Published: Wednesday, June 9, 2021

An independent study of potholes and road defects across London has revealed that carriageway surfaces on local roads in Wandsworth that are maintained by the council are in the best condition of roads anywhere in the capital.

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The State of the City Report 2020 - carried out by engineering firm Atkins on behalf of transport umbrella group The London Technical Advisors Group (LoTAG) – has found that 96.2 per cent of local roads in Wandsworth are of a good standard. The target for London boroughs is 85 per cent.

But the picture on Wandsworth’s strategic principal roads – which although owned by Wandsworth have historically received direct funding for their maintenance from Transport for London - is less rosy. The report’s authors found that only 47 per cent of these main roads in Wandsworth are in a sufficiently good condition. 

A-roads that are not red routes and so not directly managed by TfL have historically had their upkeep and repairs funded by TfL, using monies collected through the Mayor's portion of council tax bills and passed back to the boroughs in grants. This Principal Road Network (PRN) funding from TfL has been suspended to Wandsworth for the past three years leading to a considerable worsening of key roads such as Garratt Lane.

The report’s finding have prompted the council’s transport spokesman Cllr John Locker to call on TfL to invest properly again in Wandsworth’s principal road network.

He said: “Please can the bosses at TfL stop short-changing pedestrians, cyclists, and motorists in Wandsworth who use these main roads on a daily basis."

He added: “The local roads we look after are in a better shape than anywhere else in the capital. This is because we invest properly in maintaining critical infrastructure like roads and bridges and have continued investing in this network year after year. Keeping our roads in good condition improves safety levels, particularly for vulnerable road users like cyclists. If we can do this on our local road network, TfL should support this by reinstating its previous funding levels to allow investment on the PRN.”

Each year the council invests more than £2m in roads maintenance and repairs. This is partly funded by the money raised through parking charges and permit income, which is also used to pay for the cost of Freedom Passes for elderly and disabled residents and also the school transport costs of children with special education needs.

The London Technical Advisors Group (LoTAG) is a network of highway and transport officers that represent all boroughs and Transport for London. It "promotes and encourages innovate and collaborative asset management and supports highway professionals to make best use of limited budgets".