Pothole funding welcomed but Council warns it only “scratches the surface”
Posted on: 29 November 2016
Devon County Council has given a cautious welcome to a Government funding announcement (on Monday 28 November) for road repairs saying that it still only “scratches the surface”.
The Department for Transport has announced a £70 million allocation from the Pothole Action Fund in 2017/18. This is part of the £250 million over five years which the Government announced for its Pothole Action Fund last year.
Devon will receive £3.192 million in the next financial year, which the DfT calculates is enough to repair 60,200 potholes.
The County Council will use the funding to draw up a programme of repairs, using the help of local County Councillors to target priority areas. It is likely that schemes will include patching as well as more extensive surfacing and drainage improvements in order to improve the resilience of highway network.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management, said: “Any additional funding is a help, of course, and it shows that the Government’s listening, but this barely scratches the surface. We need more support to start to make a real difference to the condition of our road network which, at 8,000 miles, is the biggest highway network of any local authority in the country. Our A and B roads are holding up well but our current need is well in excess of the amount of funding we’re receiving from central Government. While that shortfall continues, unfortunately it still leaves us in a difficult position which particularly impacts on the deep rural highway network.”
Devon’s road network needs around £55 million of capital investment every year to maintain its current condition. Approximately only £23 million is available from its £38 million capital settlement from Government to maintain carriageways – as the funding also has to pay for maintenance of footways, street lighting, traffic signals, bridges, drainage systems, safety barriers and public rights of way, among other work.
From what the County Council has currently been told by Government, funding for Devon’s highways in 2017/18 will be about £44.3 million compared to £43.1 million in 2016/17.
The Government has also announced £175 million to improve safety on roads across the country. In Devon the A3121 near Ivybridge and A3123 near Ilfracombe will benefit from this funding but the County Council is yet to receive information on what share of funding it will receive for this work or what it will fund.
Posted in: Environment