The UK’s Department for Transport has pledged a £201 million (€233.78 million) fund to repair and maintain more than 1,000 miles of road.
The UK road repair fund, consisting of £50 million (€58.15 million) for pothole repair and flood defence and £151 million (€175.63 million) to fund implementation of “best practice”, is drawn from the government’s £6.6 billion (€7.67 billion) fund for local road improvements, to be allocated between 2015 and 2021. It is to be distributed as a supplement to the £725 million (€843 million) given to local councils for infrastructure in the 2019-20 period.
In the last six months, local councils spent a total of £420 million (€488.52 million) on road resurfacing, road repair and bridge renewal; with a number of councils purchasing pothole repair machines and trialling new technologies. A “heat and recycle” process currently deployed in northeast Lincolnshire recycles old road surfaces, which are blended with new materials to create a thermo-bond and minimise weak spots along the road. Cumbria County Council, meanwhile, is trialling new sensors which monitor and analyse river levels in order to prevent flooding.
Martin Tett, transport spokesperson for the Local Government Association, told the Shropshire Star: “Potholes are the scourge of all road users and this funding is good news to help councils repair them and pioneer innovative ways to stop them forming in the first place. While innovation will help councils who are fixing a pothole every 17 seconds, funding challenges remain for local authorities to deal with long-term maintenance of their local roads and address a backlog of road repairs which has risen to nearly £10 billion to provide better roads that are safer and more resilient to constant use. This is why we have called on the Government to also invest the equivalent of two pence of existing fuel duty to bring our roads up to scratch. Long-term funding will help to avoid more costly short-term repairs. The Government needs to address this in the forthcoming Spending Review.”