£100m pothole promise from UK government to fix Britain’s weather-scarred roads
The UK government is set to provide an extra £100m to repair potholes after severe cold weather in recent months contributed to country-wide road degradation.
This money will help repair almost two million potholes, as well as help protect the roads from any future severe weather.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said an “unusually prolonged spell of freezing weather” had caused damage to local roads.
The extra funds are in addition to £75m in government funding already given to councils from the Pothole Action Fund this year, as well as the additional £46m boost for highways authorities announced just before Christmas.
The move comes just days after a report found a fifth of local roads in England and Wales were in a poor condition and warned that councils faced a funding black hole to maintain carriageways.
“People rely on good roads to get to work and to see friends or family,” Grayling said. “We have seen an unusually prolonged spell of freezing weather which has caused damage to our local roads.”
He said giving councils more funding would mean “all road users can enjoy their journeys without having to dodge potholes”.
The government is also investing more than £900,000 in connected vehicles to help councils more efficiently manage and plan maintenance works. These trials will ultimately help provide councils with data to enable them to repair potholes before they occur.
Last year, the Department for Transport (DfT) announced that high-definition cameras will be fitted to bin lorries in order to detect potholes.
The announcement comes after the annual Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) study highlighted the poor state of roads.
Some 20 per cent of carriageways in England and Wales have less than five years of life remaining before they become unusable, researchers said. This represents more than 40,000 miles of road.
Spending on roads maintenance is “way short” of the amount needed and the gap between the sum local authorities in England and Wales received to keep carriageways in “reasonable order” and what they actually needed was £556m in 2017/18.
Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, said: “It is positive that the government has listened to councils and made more funding available to help repair local roads which have been affected by the recent severe winter weather.
“However, the funding announced today will provide just over 1 per cent of what is needed to tackle our current £9.3bn local roads repair backlog.”
He warned that councils are likely to need more support from the government as the full extent of the repairs needed after the freezing weather becomes clear and that ultimately a “long-term, sustainable funding solution” was required.
In 2016, Ford developed a 2km pothole-filled track used to test its vehicles in real road conditions.