Road Users left at risk as Northern Ireland Roads Structural Maintenance budget falls by 59% in three year period

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Department of Infrastructure confirms Structural Roads Maintenance expenditure budget fell from £131 million in 2013/14 to £54 million in 2015/16

Increasing roads maintenance budget is a better way than corporate tax breaks to secure economic growth across all parts of Northern Ireland

August 30th: Unite Regional Officer, Gareth Scott, who represents the union’s roads maintenance workers working for Transport NI, expressed dismay at figures obtained by his union through a freedom of information request:

“As a result of concerns expressed by our union reps in depots across Northern Ireland, Unite requested details on the budget provided for Roads Maintenance from the Department of Infrastructure.

“The Department’s response confirmed what we were hearing from the Transport NI road maintenance workers. Figures provided confirm a secular trend of falling budgets for roads over the past five years. The Structural Maintenance Expenditure budget has fallen by £77 million over the past three years to a low of only £54 million for the 2015/2016 financial year.

“Severe cuts have meant that lower priority activities have been reduced. One aspect of this may be noticeable to the public who will see more and more verges and hedges being left to grow wild. This impairs sightlines and conceals road safety signs, posing a very real hazard to road users.

“Such punitive cuts to roads maintenance budgets are completely unjustifiable at a time when Stormont Ministers believe they can afford to waste hundreds of millions on a corporate tax break – which they now admit is unlikely to have any significant benefit.

“Poor roads infrastructure has a directly deleterious impact on our economy, in particular that of more rural areas. The NI Executive needs to prioritise roads maintenance through increasing the budget. That is surely the best way to support economic growth across all parts of Northern Ireland”, Mr Scott concluded.

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