The FTA has accused the Local Government Association (LGA) of “a cheap attempt to make headlines” after it claimed HGVs are pushing the state of local roads “over the edge”.

The FTA said this week the LGA’s claim was incorrect and showed a “clear lack of understanding” of the impact of freight vehicles on road surfaces.

The FTA’s response was triggered by an LGA report, published last week, which used government figures showing a 5% increase in the goods carried by HGVs last year to claim the resulting rise in HGVs could push the road network to breaking point.

Whilst acknowledging that chronic government underfunding had left the local roads network facing an "unprecedented crisis", the LGA said the spike in trucks was significant since they “are massively more damaging to road surfaces than cars”.

The LGA report warned that 2017 could see a tipping point year for potholes, estimating the repair bill could reaching £14bn within two years. It called on the government to inject a further £1bn a year into roads maintenance.

Responding to the LGA report this week FTA policy head Christopher Snelling said: ““Freight levels on our roads are still not back to the pre-recession totals of 2006, so the LGA’s assertion that HGVs are solely responsible for the increased number of potholes on Britain’s roads is incorrect.

“It also indicates a clear lack of understanding of the impact of freight vehicles.  Larger lorries do not cause increased damage to the road surface – in fact, they have more axles which spread payloads more evenly.”

He added: “For the LGA to make this sort of statement, instead of discussing the issue with the freight industry, is simply a cheap attempt to make headlines and pass over responsibility for an issue which sits in their remit.”

Snelling called on the LGA to work with FTA to lobby the government for  greater levels of road funding.

“The real issue is the need for increased funding from central government to address the potholes problem nationwide.  Local authorities are facing large bills – one off costs of approximately £69m per council – to bring their roads up to a reasonable condition.

"If local authorities are not able to spend enough to do this now, then FTA wants to work with LGA in securing more support from national government to address the problem,” he said.