Councils to get extra £100m to repair potholes
The Government is to give a further £100m funding to councils to repair potholes and other severe weather damage, the Transport Secretary has announced.
Chris Grayling said the funds would repair almost two million potholes as well as help protect the roads from any future severe weather.
Mr Grayling commented: “We have seen an unusually prolonged spell of freezing weather which has caused damage to our local roads. We are giving councils even more funding to help repair their roads so all road users can enjoy their journeys without having to dodge potholes.”
The Government has also awarded more than £900,000 to aid the development of connected vehicle initiatives to help spot potholes. A total of eight councils will get a share of the funding, led by Blackpool Council, which has been given £100,000 to lead on the scheme.
The announcement of the new pothole repair funding follows last week’s publication of the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey for 2018, which found that it would now take 14 years to get local roads back into a reasonable steady state, provided adequate funds and resources were available.
Meanwhile Cycling UK, which runs the pothole reporting webtool and app Fill That Hole, found that local authorities have spent at least £43.3m dealing with compensation claims and legal costs due to potholes over the last five years. In response, the cycling charity pointed out compensation claims and legal fees alone, not including staff time, from the 156 highways authorities is equivalent to 17% of the Government’s five-year Pothole Action Fund of £250m allocated announced in April 2015.
The RAC, which has warned that the recent extreme cold snap could lead to a spring pothole plague across the UK, greeted the new funding but said it was “still a drop in the ocean when looking at the scale of what is required to fix our local roads”.
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “The Government should look at producing a long-term local roads strategy and a mechanism that can secure direct funding to help clear the backlog and bring local roads up to an adequate state. If the Government were to ring-fence 5p per litre from fuel duty, this would raise sufficient amounts over 5 years to help make our roads fit for purpose.”