'Road users put £48bn into the Exchequer - but only £9.8bn goes on infrastructure'

BRITAIN has one of the poorest motorway networks in Europe, according to a new study.

The country's other trunk roads are "woefully inadequate" and matters are getting worse, said the Road Users' Alliance (RUA) in its 2011 road file booklet.

"Our file makes grim reading with its catalogue of evidence of a failing road transport system," added the RUA's director Tim Green.

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He added: "Road users now pump 48 billion a year into the Exchequer, in exchange for a paltry 4.8bn in road improvements and an obviously inadequate 5bn on road maintenance. This has been accepted with resigned tolerance by motorists for years - but for how much longer?"

The RUA road file, based on figures available in April 2010, showed:

• The UK has around 3,670 kilometres of motorway compared with Italy's 13,014km, Germany's 12,594km and France's 10,958km;

• Between 1999 and 2009 the UK growth in licensed vehicles was 21 per cent, yet the major road network expanded by only around 1 per cent over this period;

• While roads account for 12 times more travel miles than railways in the UK, they receive 15 times less investment on a mile-for-mile basis;

• 91 per cent of passenger travel in the UK is by road and 18 times more goods are transported by road than by rail;

• The number of licensed cars on UK roads increased from just under 24 million in 1999 to almost 28.46 million in 2009;

• The UK's road death rate per mile travelled is less than half the EU average.