Friday, 25 March 2011

Government increases money for pothole repairs

Lancashire is to benefit from the doubling of funding available for repairing potholes - which should come as welcome news to local drivers.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond has written to all English local highway authorities to inform them of their share of £200m after the funding increase was announced as part of the Budget earlier in the week.

Last month, the Department for Transport announced that it was making available £100m as an exceptional payment to help with much needed road repairs following the severe weather at the end of last year. This extra funding was made possible because of savings the Department made earlier in the financial year.

However, further savings have now been identified and so more money has been made available for this vital programme - and, hopefully, good news for the local area as local drivers have been telling virtual-lancaster some roads are in terrible condition.

"Caton Road is falling into the ground," says local architect Martyn Dews via Twitter. "It's in really bad condition."

"I think if I used my fillthathole app on my iPhone I'd ran out of battery juice with all the photos and uploads," another driver complained. "It may sadly come down to someone suing them for injury or loss [to get something done]."

In total, Lancashire will receive £3,792,323 for pothole repairs and Cumbria receive £6,229, 592. Overall, some £23,831,581 has been allocated to the North West for the repairs.

“Potholes are a menace to all road users and I want councils to make fixing them a priority," agrees Transport Secretary Philip Hammond.

“That is why, when more funding became available, I agreed with the Chancellor that we would double the amount of money we are providing for repairs to be carried out.

“This represents a significant investment in road maintenance at a time of severe fiscal restraint, demonstrating the Government’s commitment to maintain our infrastructure to support motorists and businesses.”

The funding is in addition to the £831 million already provided to councils for road maintenance this year and the £3 billion the Government has committed over the next four years.

The funds will be automatically distributed to English local authorities according to the formula used to distribute road maintenance funding rather than councils needing to apply for it. To promote greater transparency and accountability, all local highway authorities have agreed to publish information on their website by 30 September 2011 showing where this extra money has been spent.

The government says the extra funding is being provided on an exceptional basis, because of last winter's bad weather. "It remains the responsibility of local councils to plan and manage their road maintenance programmes throughout the year, including appropriate winter resilience measures."

• Department for Transport Website: Public Enquiries: 0300 330 3000

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