British Transport Minister Andrew Jones has announced this January £1.2 billion in funding for Councils across England for the 2017 to 2018 financial year.
The funding will pay to improve roads, cut congestion and improve journey times and includes money from the new National Productivity Investment Fund, the Pothole Action Fund and £75 million which councils can bid for to repair and maintain local infrastructure such as bridges, street lighting and rural roads.
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.”
To further reduce potholes the Department for Transport (DfT) will undertake a new innovative trial to revolutionise the way potholes are identified and managed. In partnership with Thurrock and York Councils the pothole-spotter system trial will have refuse collection vehicles with high-definition cameras, integrated navigation system and intelligent software to identify road surface problems, before they become potholes.
The £1.2 billion for 2017 to 2018 financial year consists of:
- £210 million from the National Productivity Investment Fund.
- £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 to 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 to complete a self-assessment questionnaire in order to reward those who demonstrate they truly understand the value of their asset.
In response to the announcement on how the £1.2 billion will be allocated, Councillor Martin Tett, Transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, 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.”
Councillor Tett also added “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.”
Due to the increasing pothole issue the Councillor noted that “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.”