£100m ‘Beast from the East’ pothole fund announced

The UK roads have been a victim of the ‘Beast from the East’ and Storm Emma, with potholes an increasingly familiar sight.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling announced today a new £100m fund to help repair any potholes and other storm damage.

It is hoped the money could fill in around 2 million potholes throughout the country, as well as helping to protect roads from future severe weather.

£75m in government funding was already given to councils from the Pothole Action Fund this year, as well as the additional £46m boost for highways authorities announced just before Christmas. Around 7 million potholes will be filled due to this money, announced in the 2016 Budget.

The Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA)’s annual alarm survey estimates that the pothole repair bill in England currently stands at £11.8bn and set to rise to £14bn by 2019.

Chris Grayling said: ‘People rely on good roads to get to work and to see friends or family. 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.’

Devon will receive £4.5m, on top of the £2.5m they have already received, to repair the A379 which was badly damaged during Storm Emma.

The government is also investing more than £900,000 in technology to help councils more efficiently manage and plan maintenance works. It is hoped this will help provide councils with data to enable them to repair potholes before they occur and help prevent further potholes occurring over time.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has welcomed the announcement whilst also calling for increased funding.

‘It is positive that the Government has listened to councils and made more funding available to help repair local roads which have been affected by the recent severe winter weather,’ said Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s transport spokesman.

‘However, the funding announced today will provide just over 1% of what is needed to tackle our current £9.3bn local roads repair backlog, he added.

When exceptional weather occurs, the impact on local roads can be significant, and it’s essential this is measured and that funds are provided for serious repairs so that traffic can move freely through our communities and local economies and businesses aren’t impacted.’

Councils ultimately need the Government to deliver a long-term, sustainable funding solution for our local roads that can boost local economies and deliver for our communities,’ said Mr Tett.

 

Thomas Barrett

Thomas Barrett

Journalist. Follow him on Twitter

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