Dam­aged roads fixed with £2.2m blitz fund

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE - By David Gazet dgazet@thek­m­group.co.uk @DavidGazetKM

Kent is get­ting an­other cash in­jec­tion to fix thou­sands of pot­holes this spring.

The gov­ern­ment is shelling out £2.2 mil­lion to Kent County Coun­cil from a shared na­tional pot to tackle dam­aged roads.

Ac­cord­ing to the Depart­ment for Trans­port’s own anal­y­sis, with an ex­tra £300,000 from the lo­cal au­thor­ity the sum will be enough to fix more than 47,000 across its ag­ing road net­work.

Last year the au­thor­ity re­ceived £1,473,000 from the same fund, which left it with a £500,000 hole to fill af­ter cut­ting £2m from its road main­te­nance bud­get for 2016/17.

Set­ting out the mo­tion to coun­cil­lors at a com­mit­tee meet­ing on Mon­day Cllr Matthew Bal­four (Con), cabi­net mem­ber for en­vi­ron­ment and trans­port, said work would start sooner than the tar­get of June and use lo­cal con­trac­tors.

He said: “We should start as soon as we pos­si­bly can.

“What we learnt from last time round is that by us­ing our high­ways stew­ards to check things, by us­ing our dis­trict man­agers to iden­tify where the work should start we would have the abil­ity to de­tail and make ev­ery pound spend more ef­fec­tive.”

Cllr Mike Bal­dock ( Ukip) re­sponded, say­ing: “That sounds very nice and very com­mon sense but I do hope it isn’t code for ‘let’s get our peo­ple to make sure all the pot­holes in those vul­ner­a­ble seats in Sevenoaks and Tun­bridge Wells are the ones that get all the treat­ment.’

“I hope it is spread equally across the county in all di­vi­sions!”

The Road Sur­face Treat­ments As­so­ci­a­tion has launched a pe­ti­tion call­ing on the gov­ern­ment to use an ex­tra 2p per litre of ex­ist­ing fuel duty to tackle pot­holes.

In 2016, 13,747 holes were re­ported and work­ers fixed 28,000 and a sim­i­lar to­tal the pre­vi­ous year.

A poll of 10,000 peo­ple over 50, car­ried out by Saga Car In­sur­ance found most peo­ple be­lieved the state of roads have wors­ened, while pot­hole-re­lated dam­age cost £1,600 on aver­age.

The in­surer has paid out £100,000 for dam­age caused by pot­holes over the last 12 months.

KCC is to get £2.2m from the gov­ern­ment to fix pot­holes; inset, Cllr Matthew Bal­four

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