Extra funding for weather-damaged roads

It comes too late for those who have already experienced tyre and wheel damage on poor road surfaces over the winter months, however the decision to direct an extra £140 million to councils in England to repair roads damaged by winter weather is nevertheless good news for motorists. The Local Government Association has welcomed Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin’s announcement, even though it believes the extra funds probably won’t cover the full repair bill following the winter floods.

As part of the government’s response to the damage done during what the Department for Transport calls “one of the worst winters on record”, support for councils to fix the roads most damaged by severe weather will rise by £36.5 million, to £80 million. On top of this, an extra £103.5 million is also being made available to all councils across England. This is in addition to almost £900 million already earmarked for road maintenance this year, bringing total government investment in road maintenance to more than £1 billion in 2013 to 2014.

Prime Minister David Cameron said the extra money to spend on roads is available “because of the difficult decisions we have made on public spending”, adding that directing the funds to repair weather-damaged roads counts as “part of our long-term economic plan to secure Britain’s future and help hardworking people.” The word ‘hardworking’ also cropped in comments from the Transport Secretary that were published in a Department for Transport statement: “Having the right infrastructure in place to support businesses and hardworking people is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan,” said Patrick McLoughlin. “This extra money will help make a real difference to the millions of road users and local residents who rely on local roads, giving them safer and smoother journeys.”

When interviewed by the BBC, LGA environment and housing board chairman Mike Jones said that while the investment was “good news for residents”, he added that the full cost of the floods is still unknown and the association anticipates it will be more than £140 million. According to Jones, councils already faced a £10.5 billion shortfall in funds to repair damaged roads.

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