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UK roads ‘are getting worse’, businesses tell University’s online internet surveys


The impact that the nature and condition of the UK’s roads have on the country’s businesses is getting worse, a monthly internet survey has revealed.

Nearly 59 per cent of firms quizzed by the UK Business Barometer, run by The University of Nottingham Institute of Enterprise and Innovation, said they felt that the effect that the state of the nation’s road has on their operations is either getting worse or much worse. Less than five per cent of panellists in the UKBB said they believed that things were improving.

Its sister survey, the UK Business Adviser Barometer (UKBAB), mirrored these responses. Almost two-thirds (64 per cent) said they believed things were getting worse or much worse, while less than six per cent thought things were changing for the better.

Figures published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) show that traffic increased by 19 per cent between 1990 and 1993. Traffic density and congestion also increased, because total road length increased by only 0.5 per cent. The actual average condition of roads has been found to have improved between 2000 and 2004, as measured by the Department for Transport’s Road Defects Index and road traffic intensity, which measures the ratio of vehicle-miles to Gross Domestic Product, fell by 12 per cent over the same period.

Despite this, the impression given to respondents appeared to be exactly the opposite. Specific comments included the frustration caused by the poor state of repair on some local roads and the hold-ups due to huge, slow-moving articulated lorries. The speed restriction around the Heathrow junction of the M25 was singled out as adding to stress levels and journey time by one respondent.

The latest monthly surveys for April also posed a series of other questions on subjects including training needs analyses, local business crime prevention initiatives, media coverage for small businesses, managing waste paper and breaking for lunch.

The UK Business Barometer (UKBB) and UK Business Adviser Barometer (UKBAB) operate over the web to generate very rapid results. The surveys have unique software that enables results to be processed and posted on their respective websites immediately they arrive.

The survey results are published monthly and more information, including a press pack, can be found on the web at and Businesses and advisers wishing to contribute as panellists on the project should visit the appropriate Business Barometer website to register.

Rick Eagles | alfa
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