Government allocates £1.2 billion roads funding to councils
Local authorities to receive share of funding to improve roads, cut congestion and improve journey times
COUNCILS across England are today finding out their share of £1.2 billion local roads funding for the 2017/18 financial year.
The funding to improve roads, cut congestion and improve journey times includes money from the new National Productivity Investment Fund, announced in the Autumn Statement, and the Pothole Action Fund. It also includes £75 million which councils can bid for to repair and maintain local infrastructure such as bridges, street lighting and rural roads.
The Government has today also published further information about what the funding will be spent on – the latest step in the economic plan to stimulate the economy and build a country that works for everyone. A key part of this is putting in place improved transport links including better roads, to help people access work, school and services.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones said: ‘Roads play a significant part in everyday life linking people with jobs and businesses with customers, which is why this government is investing record amounts improving and maintaining highways across the country to help motorists.
‘The funding we have allocated today is focused on relieving congestion and providing important upgrades to ensure our roads are fit for the future – helping to build an economy that works for everyone.’
In a further effort to reduce the number of potholes, the Department for Transport (DfT) will begin a new innovative trial, in partnership with Thurrock and York Councils, which could revolutionize the way potholes are identified and managed.
A pothole-spotter system, mounted to refuse collection vehicles, consisting of high-definition cameras, an integrated navigation system and intelligent software will be deployed to identify road surface problems before they become potholes.
The £1.2 billion for the 2017/18 financial year consists of:
- £210 million from the National Productivity Investment Fund announced in the Autumn Statement, when the Chancellor committed to invest an extra £1.3 billion improving the road network over the course of the Parliament. From this, £185 million will be allocated in the 2017/18 financial year to local highway authorities in England, outside London, to improve local highways and public transport networks, with the remainder of the funding of £25 million being available for safer roads to help tackle some of the most dangerous A roads
- £801 million to be shared across local highway authorities in England, outside London, to help improve the condition of local roads
- £70 million to be shared across local highway authorities in England, outside London, from the Pothole Action Fund, which will help repair over 1.3 million potholes
- £75 million from the Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund, inviting local highway authorities in England, outside London, to compete for funding to help repair and maintain local highway infrastructure, such as bridges, lighting and rural roads
- £75 million from the Highways Maintenance Incentive Element, which invites local highway authorities in England, outside London, to complete a self-assessment questionnaire in order to reward those who demonstrate they truly understand the value of their asset.
Responding to the Government’s announcement, Councillor Martin Tett, Transport spokesman at the Local Government Association (LGA), said: ‘Funding for roads maintenance is desperately needed and the money announced today will help councils tackle some of the growing repair backlog and congestion they face on local roads.
‘We are pleased the Government has accepted our call for this funding not to be allocated through an uncertain bidding process, which we hope will lead to more certainty and less waste across all of government transport spending.
‘It is only fair for taxpayers that spending decisions are made by councils who work much closer to and better understand the needs of the people and places they serve.
‘However, substantially more funding is needed to bring our roads up to scratch. A £12 billion current backlog of road repairs would already take councils more than a decade to clear.
‘Councils fixed a pothole every 15 seconds again last year despite significant budget reductions leaving them with less to spend on fixing our roads.
‘Our roads crisis is only going to get worse unless we address it as a national priority. This means the Government providing long-term and consistent funding to invest in the resurfacing projects which our road network desperately needs over the next decade.’