The government today (20 June 2014) outlined plans to help fill more than 3 million potholes as part of a massive investment in the country’s local and major roads.
Councils across England have been allocated £168 million of funding from a dedicated Pothole Repair Fund. As a condition of receiving the money local authorities are required to publish quarterly progress updates on how many potholes have been repaired.
This is the latest in a series of announcements which will see more than £24 billion spent on England’s strategic road network between 2010 and 2021 - the biggest investment in the road network since the 1970s.
Parliament is now considering legislation that will transform the Highways Agency into a government-owned company backed by locked-in funding; changes that will eliminate the uncertain ‘stop-start’ funding processes of the past and save the taxpayer at least £2.6 billion over the next 10 years.
This huge investment in the strategic road network is reflected by a further £7.4 billion committed to local roads in the next Parliament, along with funding from the £12 billion Local Growth Fund.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:
Potholes are the bane of all our lives and the funding announced today is an important step in ridding our roads of this menace. But it is only one part of a massive programme of investment to get our country up to speed as part of this Government’s long term economic plan. By building, repairing and renewing our key infrastructure we will ensure the future growth and prosperity of this country.
Today’s announcement follows a competition in which councils were invited to apply for a share of the £168 million, which includes £10 million being available for London.
In total 148 authorities applied for funding and all will receive a share. A greater share is being provided to a number of model authorities who were able to demonstrate best practice in highways maintenance. These councils have invested in new technology and initiatives. They have brought in specialist machinery or set up dedicated crews, to help fix potholes or prevent them from appearing in the first place.
Those authorities who have demonstrated good practice include:
- Northamptonshire – which has set up systems to track pothole repairs in real time, allowing it to co-ordinate work more effectively and make sure teams are deployed efficiently
- Hampshire – which has extra pothole fixing equipment in place to make effective and speedy repairs
- Lancashire – which has done exemplary work forging links with other highways authorities, suppliers and contractors to allow it to tackle potholes more effectively and improve its wider programme of highways maintenance.
All repair works have to be completed by end of March 2015. We are asking all authorities who are awarded funding to pledge to use the money to help repair potholes or to ensure that they do not appear in the first place. Councils will need to publish quarterly updates so that local residents can see how many potholes or miles or resurfacing has been undertaken in their area.
The additional £168 million pothole funding was announced by the Chancellor in the March Budget, and guidance for local authorities on how to apply was published in April.
This funding is on top of the extra £185 million the government made available in March to help repair local roads damaged by severe weather.