County to get £500k for pot-hole re­pairs

Cash boost comes as part of £50m na­tional bid to fix dam­aged roads

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - by Tom Herbert tom.herbert@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @TRHer­bert

BUCKS is to re­ceive more than half a mil­lion pounds to fix the county’s pot­holes, the gov­ern­ment an­nounced on Thurs­day.

A cash boost of £546,000 is be­ing given to the county coun­cil to tackle the prob­lem as part of a larger £50 mil­lion pot­hole fund dur­ing this fi­nan­cial year.

First an­nounced in the 2016 Bud­get, the money is the first tranche of a larger £250m Pot hole Ac­tion Fund (PAF), and is enough to re­pair 10,302 pot-holes.

Over the next 12 months the gov­ern­ment hopes the money will re­pair nearly one mil­lion pot holes across the coun­try.

18 coun­cils in South East will re­ceive a share of £8.3 mil­lion, help­ing to re­move around 157,000 pot-holes from the road and fix over four mil­lion by 2020/21.

Trans­port sec­re­tary Patrick McLough­lin said: “I know how im­por­tant well­main­tained roads are to peo­ple across the south east. Al­most ev­ery jour­ney starts and ends on a lo­cal road, so the gov­ern­ment is giv­ing coun­cils in the south east £8.3m specif­i­cally to tackle the blight of pot holes in their area.

“This is just one part of our un­prece­dented in­vest­ment in lo­cal road main­te­nance over the next five years. We are giv­ing a record £778m to lo­cal au­thor­i­ties in south-east that will im­prove jour­neys across the re­gion.”

But chair­man of Asphalt In­dus­try Al­liance, Alan Macken­zie, said that while it ‘might seem like a good idea’, it is ‘another clear sign that the battle to res­cue our crum­bling lo­cal roads net­work is be­ing lost’. He said: “It does noth­ing to ad­dress the cu­mu­la­tive ef­fect of decades of un­der­fund­ing and per­pet­u­ates the down­ward spi­ral of the ‘patch and mend’ ap­proach.”

He ar­gued that roads should be fixed prop­erly to stop pot-holes form­ing in the first place, which would, given time, ‘un­der­mine the en­tire struc­ture of the road’.

He added: “Throw­ing money into pot-holes is com­plete mad­ness.”

In to­tal, the gov­ern­ment is spend­ing £6.1 bil­lion na­tion­wide on lo­cal high­ways main­te­nance be­tween 2015/16 and 2020/21. The PAF will give lo­cal au­thor­i­ties in Eng­land £50m a year over the next five years. Fund­ing is cal­cu­lated ac­cord­ing to the size of the lo­cal road net­work in the area.

Mark Shaw, cab­i­net mem­ber for transportation at BCC, said: “I am de­lighted to learn that we have been awarded £546,000 this year from cen­tral gov­ern­ment which, ac­cord­ing to DfT, will treat 10,302 pot-holes. We hope this will be the level of fund­ing for the next five years but as yet have not con­firmed ab­so­lutely. We wel­come this source of fund­ing to help us keep our roads as safe and secure as pos­si­ble for all res­i­dents and driv­ers.”

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