Victory for the Daily Mail’s pothole campaign as Jeremy Hunt will announce a £200m fund to tackle the plague on Britain’s roads
Jeremy Hunt is to unveil a £200million fund to tackle the potholes plaguing Britain’s roads in this week’s Budget in a major victory for the Daily Mail’s campaign.
The Chancellor’s pledge means around four million more holes will be filled in.
The cash represents a boost of almost a fifth to annual funds for fixing crumbling rural and local routes, and will be released to councils in England in the coming weeks.
As the money is earmarked for town halls it means residential streets, country lanes and smaller B and C roads will benefit.
The Mail has highlighted how a growing number of potholes on such routes are costing drivers millions of pounds in repairs to their vehicles while putting cyclists and motorcyclists at risk of injury or death.
It is a major victory for the Daily Mail’s campaign, which has been highlighting how a growing number of potholes on such routes are costing drivers millions of pounds in repairs
Jeremy Hunt is to unveil a £200million fund to tackle the potholes plaguing Britain’s roads in this week’s Budget
Department for Transport figures show up to half of smaller, unclassified residential roads are in need of resurfacing in some areas of the country. Meanwhile, up to a quarter of B and C roads are in need of fixing.
Overall, 15 per cent of unclassified roads in England are in the ‘red’ category for their condition, the worst ranking.
Mr Hunt told the Mail last night: ‘Potholes cause misery for motorists. The Mail’s campaign has put the issue under the spotlight and I agree it’s time for action.
‘This cash will fix up to four million potholes, keeping the country moving and putting growth in the fast lane.’
Transport Secretary Mark Harper added: ‘Potholes are a blight on Britain’s roads.
‘This latest round of funding shows we are committed to supporting all road users – from motorists to cyclists and bus passengers – and making journeys smoother and safer for all.’
The money will be in addition to the £1.125billion being spent annually between 2020 and 2025 on resurfacing and repairing local highways.
Council chiefs said it was a welcome boost following a particularly wet and cold winter, which has caused more cracks to emerge on Britain’s roads.
In addition, the price of asphalt and concrete has soared amid the energy crisis, pushing up the cost of fixing potholes by 16 per cent. The average pothole costs around £50 to fill in.
Town hall bosses have long argued they need a greater share of the cash that goes towards roads – with National Highways receiving £7billion to manage motorways and major A roads despite local roads covering many more miles.
Edmund King, president of the AA, said: ‘This £200million pothole bonus is a welcome contribution in the short term to help fill the plague of potholes which is blighting drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians.
‘Ultimately, we need longer-term, concerted investment to start addressing the backlog. But we are delighted that the AA’s campaigning with the Daily Mail is paying dividends.’
The RAC’s roads policy chief, Nicholas Lyes, added: ‘While welcome, another £200million is unlikely to make a big difference to the overall quality of our dilapidated local roads.
Department for Transport figures show up to half of smaller, unclassified residential roads are in need of resurfacing in some areas of the country
‘We need to significantly increase funding for local road maintenance and improvement so councils can resurface roads properly rather than patching them up and hoping for the best.’
Town halls have been accused of using a temporary ‘throw and go’ method to fix roads – where damaged ground is not removed or repaired before being filled, meaning potholes reappear soon after being repaired.
A poll last week found two-thirds of drivers believe roads have got worse over the past year, with one in five saying they had incurred costly repair bills of more than £100.
A spokesman for the Local Government Association, which represents councils, said: ‘We look forward to seeing the details of how this money will be allocated.
‘Despite the best efforts of councils, which repair a pothole every 19 seconds, our local roads repair backlog is rising and would take more than £12billion and nine years to clear.’
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