Funding to repair potholes in Northamptonshire cut by a quarter for coming year

Government is giving county £19.1m - equivalent of 170,00 pothole repairs - but that's £6.3m less than last year

Friday, 26th February 2021, 2:04 pm
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Government funding to repair damaged roads in Northamptonshire has been slashed by a quarter for the coming year.

The County Councils Network says the reduction in funding across England means councils will "have no choice" but to cancel planned road maintenance projects.

Northamptonshire will receive £19.1 million to maintain roads in 2021-22, the Department for Transport has announced.

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That is £6.3 million less than the £25.3 million provided in the current financial year – a reduction of 25%.

Across England, road maintenance funding has been cut by £400 million for the coming year, with £1.1 billion to be handed out to councils and combined authorities.

The funding includes £500 million to repair potholes, with £8.5 million going to Northamptonshire County Council as part of its allocation.

The DfT estimates the money for Northamptonshire could repair 170,000 potholes.

But the County Councils Network, which represents England's county councils, says the pothole fund should not mask an overall reduction in maintenance funding.

Councillor Barry Lewis, economic growth spokesperson for CCN, said: "The Government has given with one hand and taken with the other, as the overall funding pot for roads maintenance will fall compared to last year.

"Our councils rely heavily on this capital funding to help tackle the backlog of road repairs in their areas and to ensure their road networks are in a good condition.

"Unless further funding is made available, our councils will have no choice but to reduce their roads maintenance work this coming year."

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, said the cut in funding for road maintenance was "worrying".

He added: "This can only lead to roads deteriorating further and being in a worse overall state than they are now.

"Councils require certainty of funding over a longer period of time – ideally five years – so they can plan resurfacing and routine maintenance rather than being forced into having a more piecemeal approach."

Road maintenance funding is allocated to councils and combined authorities based on a formula which uses the length of roads, number of bridges and level of street lighting.

In addition, Northamptonshire County Council will also receive £3.1 million for transport improvement projects such as road safety schemes, cycle ways and bus lanes for 2021-22.

This is an increase of £23,000 compared to this financial year.

During the Covid-19 pandemic the Government has provided an extra £7.2 billion in funding to councils to spend on local priorities. November's spending review pledged a further £3 billion for authorities in 2021-22.

A DfT spokesperson said: "We know high-quality local roads make a difference to people's lives, which is why we have committed £1.125 billion to local roads maintenances for 2021-22, including £500 million from the Potholes Fund which will allow the equivalent of 10 million potholes to be rectified by local councils."