Pedestrian falls cost taxpayers up to £500m each year, study suggests

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Pedestrian falls cost UK taxpayers up to £500 million a year, according to a Government-funded report.

Walking charity Living Streets claimed its analysis demonstrates the need to prioritise fixing dangerous pavements.

It estimated there could be as many as one million outdoor falls among adults in England aged 65 and above every year.

The study found that pedestrian falls cost up to £500 million annually in the UK, taking into account emergency medical treatment combined with hospital, community and social care services as well as personal injury claim pay outs by local authorities.

Researchers found there is a “a significant gap in information on outdoor falls”, adding that priorities for road maintenance spending could change if more data was available.

Report author Dr Rachel Lee, Living Streets policy and research manager, said: “Poor pavements have a real cost with hospital admissions due to trips and falls placing a huge burden on NHS and local authority budgets.

“Prevention is better than cure.

“We need to prioritise funding for safe and hazard-free pavements, so older people can enjoy the health and social benefits that come from walking.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Transport, which funded the research, said: “Central government is investing more than £5 billion from 2020 to 2025 to support local highways maintenance teams with repairs and upkeep, but local councils are responsible for maintaining pavements.”

The cost of repairing pavements in England excluding London – or maintaining them in their current condition – has previously been estimated at £1.7 billion.

A spokesperson for the Local Government Association, which represents more than 350 councils in England and Wales, said: “Councils work tirelessly to repair roads and pavements to make them safe for everyone who uses them.

“However, due to historic cuts to funding, councils face a significant repair backlog which would take an estimated nine years to get to the bottom of.

“Councils want to bring our pavements up to scratch and make them safe for all users, particularly those who may be older or more vulnerable. To do this, the Government should use this Budget to commit to long-term funding increases to fund these vital repair works.”

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