THE cost of fixing Scotland ’s pothole-blighted roads has reached £3billion, MSPs have been told.

Urgent action has been urged as it emerged more than a third of local streets and 13 per cent of major roads need repairs.

In a letter to Transport Secretary Michael Matheson, convener Edward Mountain wrote: “The committee is concerned that there is an estimated £1.2billion backlog for maintenance of trunk roads and around £1.8billion needs to be spent to bring the local roads network up to a satisfactory standard.”

Mr Mountain also quoted Audit Scotland reports that show there has been a 26 per cent decline in spending on local roads over five years.

A step change is required in the planning, funding and delivery of roads maintenance services to address the backlog, according to the Scottish Parliament’s Rural Economy & Connectivity Committee.

READ MORE: Call goes out for views on pothole epidemic

The committee calls for the development of a national transport improvement project, supported by substantial additional investment in roads maintenance by the Scottish Government to reduce the backlog.

HeraldScotland: NB PIC TAKEN ON 15TH FEB- SEE NEW PIC OF SAME POTHOLE TAKEN ON 5TH MARCHPothole on Paisley road, Tradeston, Glasgow. Photographed on Thursday 15th February 2018...   Photograph by Colin Mearns.15 February 2018..

It is also seeking an appropriate regional delivery model to deliver more efficient and sustainable ongoing management and maintenance of local roads.

Mr Mountain added: “Whilst the committee acknowledges the pressures on local government budgets, it is clear that not enough has been spent on local roads over a number of years. Evidence heard by the committee also suggests that current expenditure levels will be insufficient to prevent an ongoing deterioration in the condition of roads across Scotland.

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“That is why the committee is agreed that a new approach is needed to make significant inroads into addressing the accepted maintenance backlogs and ensure that, moving forward, road maintenance is appropriately managed and resourced so that the roads network is truly fit for purpose.”

The MSPs are recommending that the Scottish Government should give maintenance of Scotland’s trunk and local roads networks a significantly enhanced profile as part of its development of National Transport Strategy 2 (NTS2).

Conservative MSP Jamie Greene said: “After 12 years of Nationalist neglect, Scotland has £3billion of repair backlogs and 150,000 potholes."

And it argues that a national transport improvement project focusing on roads maintenance should be introduced.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We are making significant efforts to maximise every penny that is spent on maintenance. The budget for maintaining roads Transport Scotland looks after has increased by £33million in 2019-20.”

In February, price comparison website Confused.com said that more than 111,000 potholes on Scots roads were reported in 2018.

It discovered that the total depth of the craters was 4432m – more than 25 times the depth of the English Channel or the height of 2955 cars stacked up.

Fife was the potholes blackspot, with 21,920 reported. They stretched to a depth of almost 1km.

It added that Scots councils forked out £272,000 in compensation to drivers for pothole damage to their vehicles, on top of the £18million paid out to repair roads across the country.