Councils in England will be given more than £100 million of extra funding to spend on repairing potholes, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond announced today (23 February 2011). 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 4 years.
The severe weather at the end of last year has left many local roads in a poor condition. Every local authority has a responsibility to properly maintain their roads, including planning winter resilience measures, but this exceptional weather has caused significant additional damage.
Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, said:
Millions of motorists across the country have their daily drives ruined by potholes. And the awful winter weather we had this year is only going to make that problem worse.
That is why, despite the tough financial position we are in, we are going to give councils over £100 million extra to help carry out much needed repairs to England’s roads.
I am determined to see the winter damage to our roads fixed as quickly as possible and we will be working with councils to make sure that happens.
This money should make a real difference to the millions of drivers who are fed up with having to continually battle against dangerous potholes, giving them safer and smoother journeys.
To make sure that councils are able to make use of this money as soon as possible, the funds will be distributed to English local authorities based on the amount and condition of roads the authority is responsible for rather than councils needing to apply for the funding.
The extra funding has been made possible because of savings the department made earlier in the financial year. In order to qualify for this extra funding and to promote greater transparency and accountability, local authorities will need to publish information on their website by 30 September 2011 showing where this money has been spent.
Today’s announcement provides additional funds - over £100 million- to be shared across all local highway authorities in England including London.
As the damage caused by severe weather was widespread across the country and to minimise administrative burdens for all concerned, we will distribute the funds formulaically based on the department’s existing highways maintenance capital funding formula (which takes into account road length and condition).
As part of this additional funding, the department will require local highway authorities to publish a brief note on their website by 30 September 2011 enabling local communities to see how this extra funding has been spent. Councils will need to agree to these conditions by 16 March 2011 in order to qualify for the funding; the department will then confirm the total amount of DfT funding available and write to local highway authorities informing them of their allocation.
This funding is being given on an exceptional basis. It remains the responsibility of local councils to plan and manage their road maintenance programmes throughout the year, including appropriate winter resilience measures.
Potholes are formed when water freezes in small cracks in the road, expanding and forming a larger cavity.