Sixty-eight per cent of businesses think Britain’s roads are “less reliable than five years ago”
The vast majority of businesses think UK roads as less reliable compared with five years ago, according to new research by the British Chambers of Commerce.
Sixty-eight per cent of businesses see the road network as less reliable than it was in 2013, while just under half – 41 per cent – believe it also does not meet their needs.
Roads and rail combined are failing to meet the needs of over a third of businesses, according to the BCC survey of over 1,000 firms across the UK. Thirty-nine per cent do not think that the UK’s rail network allows them to access new and existing customers, suppliers and employers, while 34 per cent do.
The UK’s road and rail links were found to be “outdated” by an independent commission in February 2017, which it said put growth, jobs, and travel in jeopardy, with the north of England set to suffer most.
The BCC said the UK’s “physical and digital infrastructure” needed attention while Brexit “continues to distract the government”.
In December last year, a month before the survey was conducted, over half of businesses said delays had caused an increase in their travel costs, while a third had their access to customers restricted and saw increased costs in products and services.
Nearly three quarters of those surveyed experienced traffic jams on roads and motorways, and just under half experienced the same on the road and rail networks due maintenance works.
Head of business environment at the BCC Jane Gratton said: “Capacity constraints, congestion and delays in the development of new routes have left businesses frustrated.
“Transport delays can cost businesses time, money and potential clients. For the UK to succeed post-Brexit, we need to fix the fundamentals here at home. Investing in physical and digital infrastructure is vital to the prosperity and competitiveness of the UK in the future.”
Gratton said that poor broadband and mobile coverage continued to hold back British businesses, adding that to rectify the problem it had launched its “No More Not Spots campaign” to highlight where there were gaps in coverage.
The past year has been marked by travel disruption from the likes of Southern rail, which was fined £13.4m by the department for transport (DfT) last year for the severe delays and cancellations on its service that continue to cause commuter misery.
Britain’s roads are not faring much better, with potholes on UK’s roads costing drivers on average £1,600 worth of damage per incident.
Analysis of 10,000 over-50s revealed eight out of 10 motorists think road maintenance has got worse over the last few years, as councils and highways agencies have come under increasing pressure to cut budgets, leading to suggestions that the amount of work done to maintain the UK’s roads has been reduced.