County to get £500k for pot-hole repairs
Cash boost comes as part of £50m national bid to fix damaged roads
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.”