Local authorities get £500 million to fix potholes
Asphalt Industry Alliance says Pothole Fund allocation only a fraction of what is required
COUNCILS across England have this week been allocated their share of £500 million for highways maintenance, with the funding expected to fix the equivalent of 10 million potholes across the country.
It is the second of five equal instalments from the £2.5 billion Pothole Fund, providing £500 million a year between 2020/21 and 2024/25, announced by the Chancellor in the 2020 Budget – and is part of wider funding the Department for Transport (DfT) provides for road maintenance, totalling more than £1.1 billion across England in 2021/22.
With the average pothole costing around £50 to fill in, the DfT says the latest funding allocation will ensure that the equivalent of 10 million potholes can be rectified, making thousands of local roads both safer and easier to drive and cycle on.
Transport Minister Baroness Vere said: ‘We know potholes are more than just a nuisance – they can be dangerous to drivers and cyclists alike, and cause damage to thousands of vehicles every year. The funding allocated today [15 February] will help councils ensure roads in their area are kept up to standard, and that the potholes that blight road users can be dealt with promptly.’
Commenting on the latest Pothole Fund instalment, Rick Green, chair of the Asphalt Industry Alliance, said: ‘Potholes are a symptom of an under-appreciated and underfunded network. To keep essential services across the country moving and looking to recovery post-COVID, what’s needed is further sustained investment in effective road maintenance. That will help improve the condition of our local roads to prevent potholes from forming in the first place.
‘Last year, our Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) Survey 2020 reported that it would now cost £11.14 billion to bring our roads up to scratch – up from £9.31 billion the year before. So, while cash-strapped local authorities will no doubt welcome this year’s allocation from the Pothole Fund, it is still a fraction of the amount that’s needed and will not address deteriorating conditions and the rising bill to put it right.’