RURAL rat runs are being hammered during accidents on the A590, a meeting has heard.

The recent “sad” fatality between Greenodd roundabout and the Bouth turn off sent thousands of vehicles onto back roads, a councillor has said.

Cllr Matt Brereton said trees had been hit by large lorries, walls had been demolished and road surfaces were rapidly deteriorating.

In addition, routes were becoming “dangerous” due to the volume of traffic diverted off the major trunk road, he said.

At a meeting of South Lakeland local committee in Kendal on Tuesday, Cllr Brereton called on county council highways officials to work with police and Highways England on better resilience measures.

The agency is in charge of the A590 but does not have to meet the cost of damage caused to rural roads when it is closed.

Cllr Brereton, the Conservative member for High Furness, said: “Unfortunately, the A590 is bedevilled with accidents on a frequent basis but it’s the knock-on effect on the routes people take to avoid accidents when they occur.

“We need to impress on Highways England that while the A590 is their responsibility, we need to identify the rat runs, and try and work with them to make sure those routes are not falling into disrepair.”

Cllr Brereton suggested a rethink was needed concerning the diversions signs put out by the authorities and the suitability of diversion routes.

He said extra funding was required to repair rural roads off the A590, particularly the road between the Bouth turn-off, Spark Bridge and Lowick.

“It needs quite a lot of investment now to bring it up to standard again,” said Cllr Brereton. He called on the committee to work with highways officials on maintenance and extra funding.

“I think there’s a bigger problem that is not being reported in that these routes are being used on a daily basis to avoid possible congestion,” he said.

Cllr Stan Collins told the meeting that drivers often ignored official diversion signs and relied on technology.

Cllr Collins, the Liberal Democrat for the Ken t Estuary, said: “People rely on their Sat Nav which takes them down totally inappropriate roads where they are going to meet other vehicles head on, sometimes on a single track road. They will start trying to reverse when there are vehicles behind them.”