Massive £200million funding boost to fill ‘curse of potholes’
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During his Budget today, Chancellor Jeremy Hunt unveiled an enormous £200million boost for communities to fill the “curse of potholes”. The boost to the Potholes Fund is set to fill potholes around the UK and make roads safer for all road users.
Mr Hunt said: “Following a wet then cold winter I have also received particularly strong representation from my honourable friends North Devon, Southwest Devon and Newton Abbot, as well as Councillor Peter Martin from my own constituency about the curse of potholes.
“The spending review allocated £500million every year to the Potholes Fund.
“But today I have decided to increase that fund by a further £200million next year to help local communities tackle this problem.”
This represents a 20 percent boost in funds to fix roads in towns, cities and rural roads.
Louise Thomas, car insurance expert at Confused.com, commented: “The cold snap of winter weather has brought heavy rain and freezing temperatures, creating the perfect storm for potholes.
“Potholes causes damage to thousands of vehicles every year and can be costly for motorists who end up paying for repairs.
“But the Chancellor’s new budget announcement could benefit millions of drivers, as more money is set aside to tackle the problem.
“But the latest Government changes won’t happen overnight, which is why motorists are reminded that claims can be made for pothole damage.”
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Transport Secretary Mark Harper praised the move, saying potholes are a ”blight on Britain’s roads”.
He added: “This latest round of funding shows we are committed to supporting all road users – from motorists to cyclists and bus passengers – and making journeys smoother and safer for all.”
It is estimated that the additional funding could fill four million potholes around the UK.
According to DfT, 15 percent of unclassified roads in England are rated as ‘red’ – the worst ranking available for roads.
Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, said while the funding was welcome, the extra £200million is unlikely to make a big difference to the overall quality of roads.
Mr Lyes added: “We need to significantly increase funding for local road maintenance and improvement so councils can resurface roads properly rather than patching them up and hoping for the best.
“Last year the Government spent £1.125billion on local roads in England which is in stark contrast to the £7billion that went into major roads from car tax, despite local roads covering so many more miles.”
Analysis from the Local Government Association found that the Government spends 31 times more per mile on maintaining motorways than on repairing local potholes.
New figures show that the Government spent £192,000 per mile on maintaining strategic roads, such as motorways or major A roads compared to just £6,000 per mile on fixing potholes on local roads.
This is despite local roads making up 180,000 miles of the UK’s overall network, with strategic roads making up just 4,800 miles.
More to follow…
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