Cash boost for repairs to roads

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MORE money is being made available to local authorities to help overcome the problems of potholes.

Following last week’s Budget, the government doubled the amount of money available for repairs to the roads – with £200m now being shared among English councils.

Last month, the Department for Transport announced it was making £100m available as an exceptional payment to help with road repairs following another severe winter.

That money had been made available due to savings in the department earlier in the financial year but further savings are now available for the vital programme.

Roads in Northumberland, just like in other parts of the country, have been left in a bad state due to the freezing conditions over the winter, with the county council carrying out temporary repairs.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond MP said: “Potholes are a menace to all road users and I want councils to make fixing them a priority.

“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 £831m already provided to councils for road maintenance this year and the £3bn the government has committed over the next four years.

But the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), who have campaigned for more investment into repairing potholes, have called for more than just a “papering over the cracks” approach to the issue.

Stephen Larkin, regional director of ICE North East, said: “Unless the problems are dealt with properly, they will return as soon as there is another freeze.

“The job needs to be done correctly for every pothole, because patching up is a temporary measure.

“Potholes are generally caused by water getting into cracks in the road and then freezing, and the expansion creates bigger holes.

“Patching up the holes allows further seepage into the seams, causing a cyclical reopening of the gaps and more potholes.”