Government pothole fund ‘not enough to clear backlog’
PUBLISHED: 07:00 20 November 2018
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The Government is set to invest more than £1million to improve pothole problems in Weston and North Somerset.
However, North Somerset Council’s deputy leader Elfan Ap Rees has already conceded ‘we could do with more’.
The Department for Transport has revealed plans to invest an additional £1.7million to help fund repairs and improvements to highways in the authority.
The amount is the area’s share of £420million for roads announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his autumn budget.
As executive member for transport, Cllr Ap Rees said the council ‘welcome any additional funding coming into North Somerset to help the roads.’
He said: “It is not enough to clear the backlog since we left Avon.
“We used to get a small amount of the budget with most going towards repairs in Bristol and we have been playing catch up ever since.
“We have yet to sit down with the officers and determine where and how we will use the additional funding.
“Maintaining our roads is of vital importance and we want to improve them.
A Department for Transport survey conducted in March suggested North Somerset’s roads are some of the best in the country, with just one per cent of the district’s A-roads in need of repair and four per cent of B and C-roads.
For unclassified roads the figure is just three per cent meaning only three authorities in England fare better.
The North Somerset Council, which is responsible for 1,100 kilometres of roads across the district reportedly repaired an estimated 500 potholes in the same month, with 95 per cent of potholes in the area fixed within 28 days of being reported.
Roads Minister Jesse Noman said: “Potholes are a huge problem for all road users, and too often we see issues occurring at the same place time after time.
“That is why the Government is investing £15billion between 2015-20 and a further £28.8billion to 2025. Plus an immediate extra £420million for potholes and local road maintenance this year.
“The South West will be getting an extra £71million this winter to keep its roads in good condition.”
In 2017, North Somerset Council spent £199,000 repairing an estimated 9,000 potholes.
Somerset County Council was awarded just under £10million.