A THIRD of the road network in East Lothian is in need of repair, with warnings that the situation will worsen without more investment.

Calls have been made for the Scottish Government to step in after it was revealed that local authorities across the country had seen spending on maintaining their roads cut by 20 per cent since 2011.

Iain Gray, East Lothian MSP, said the latest report which revealed the state of the county’s network was a “direct result” of cuts to local authority funding by the Scottish Government.

He said: “The condition of roads is a problem across Scotland. This is a direct result of the Scottish Government slashing council funding over this period, with East Lothian Council having suffered cuts of around £25 million in the last five years.

“East Lothian Council has done its utmost to protect the budget.

“The Scottish Government needs to recognise the impact its cuts are having and give local authorities the funding they need to protect services, including road maintenance.”

The county is currently covered by 916km of roads, ranging from class A routes to unclassified lanes.

And an Annual Status and Options Report, produced on behalf of East Lothian Council, has revealed that 34 per cent are currently in need of repair.

The report, which looks at the impact of future funding on network maintenance in the long term, warns that the current level of investment of £3.2million a year will mean that more than 50 per cent of the roads will be in a state of disrepair in 20 years’ time.

And it reveals that, as an asset, East Lothian Council’s carriageways depreciate in value by £10million every year.

It also found that nearly 24km of rural public roads in the county were in poor condition and needed immediate investigation and possible treatment.

The report said: “The level of investment on public roads in East Lothian has not been sufficient to limit the decline in the overall condition of the network.”

It revealed that additional investment of £49.1million over the next 10 years could significantly improve the state of the roads, with fewer than 20 per cent likely to need repairs by the end of the decade.

Peter Forsyth, asset manager for East Lothian Council, said that the recommendation for operating the carriageways following the report was to continue with the current level of investment.

In a report to the council’s policy and performance review committee, he said the costs of corrective treatments, in particular carriageway reconstruction, were “prohibitive” and a preventative treatment approach should “mitigate the need to invest significantly”.

But he warned: “Short-term under-investment could result in major long-term expenditure necessary to rectify major defects which could have been addressed earlier.”

Councillor Jane Henderson (Conservative), leader of the opposition, said: “Our road infrastructure/assets are vital and difficult decisions will need to be made.

“Without investment now the amount of money needed in the future will be a greater problem; the old expression of ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ was never so apt.

“The decision on how much to spend on roads now will inevitably mean choices. Money will have to be found and some services which are ‘nice to have’ may have to see new or increased charges. Working out whether cuts or charges are the best way forward, whilst protecting the vulnerable, will make this year’s budget no easy task. This process starts again now and the Conservative Group will play the fullest role it can in determining a responsible approach to our vital infrastructure.”

Councillor Stuart Currie, SNP Group leader, said: “More investment is required in roads to ensure that we keep up the momentum.

“It is concerning that the current level of investment is not enough to prevent conditions deteriorating further. I am hoping that the budget will provide an opportunity to improve the position.”