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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Local Roads and Bridges - Scotland

The statutory responsibility for the network of local roads and bridges lies with individual local authorities. 94% of Scotland's roads (some 56,000km) are the responsibility of local authorities to manage and maintain. There are over 11,000 bridges owned by local authorities in Scotland.

The trunk road network is the responsibility of Transport Scotland.

Management and Maintenance

In 2002, all 32 local authorities in Scotland agreed to undertake a rolling survey of the condition of the local road network. The Scottish Executive fully supports this work, which is being co-ordinated by the Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS).

The survey will operate on a four-year rolling cycle, with all A roads covered annually, while a proportion of B, C and unclassified roads will be surveyed each year, leading to full coverage over the four years.

The results of the survey will provide an overall view of the condition of the network, as well as detailed information to allow local authorities to assess the need for repairs and maintenance, and identify future priorities for investment in improvements.


Funding for local roads, both capital and revenue, is provided through the overall local government finance settlement, under formula arrangements agreed with COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities).

This funding is not "ring-fenced" and it is up to each council to decide the priority of local roads and bridges amongst its other spending plans.

However, Scottish Ministers have acknowledged the need to address a long-standing backlog of repairs and improvements works and have allocated extra funding to local authorities to address this. Revenue funding to local authorities increased by £60 million per annum in 2006-07 and 2007-08 as part of the Spending Review 2004.

Local authorities will be encouraged to engage with the new Regional Transport Partnerships to have regionally important non-trunk roads projects prioritised in their regional transport strategies. The Scottish Executive has made available an additional £35 million for this purpose.

Power of the Local Authorities

Local road authorities have a range of powers, including compulsory purchase of land for road building, restrictions on and the stopping up of roads. These are mostly dealt with at local authority level, but where there are unresolved objections, they may be passed to Scottish Ministers for arbitration.

Local roads authorities are also responsible for the siting and maintenance of all road signs and markings on local roads. Signs and markings that can be used are contained in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002. These Regulations are reserved to the UK Parliament although Scottish Ministers have powers to authorise non-prescribed signs or road markings in exceptional circumstances.

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