Pothole Repair Funding Details Announced by Department for Transport amidst Skepticism

The news may be perhaps due to the recent survey done by the AA regarding the increase in pothole accidents in recent years, but the fact remains that the Department for Transport has announced the details of its funding for pothole repairs in the coming years.

£50 million in funds for the repair of about a million potholes around the country in the coming year

£50 million in funds for the repair of about a million potholes around the country in the coming year

The DFT has allocated about £50 million in funds for the repair of about a million potholes around the country in the coming year. According to the DFT, over 100 councils across England will profit from pothole repair funding aimed at removing 943,000 potholes from the local road networks this year. This funding is just part and parcel of the ‘Pothole Action Fund’ amounting to a total of £250 million, which is set to repair more than four million of these potholes by the years 2020-2021.

Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, reiterated that the government has set aside substantial funding for road maintenance in the coming five years. The government is set to spend a budget of £6.1 billion on the maintenance of local roads and highways between this year and 2020-2021.


What industry players have to say

But despite this announcement, some industry players remain skeptical. The chief engineer of the RAC, David Bizley, stated that preventive maintenance is still the main issue rather than the repair of potholes themselves. He further mentions that until there is a focus on preventing potholes – rather than simply filling them in – the local networks will remain a weak link in the country’s entire infrastructure for transport. He also states that emphasis on development should not just be relegated to motorways, railways, and major roads and ports – development should begin with the local road network first and foremost as they have a strategic role in the country’s infrastructure for transport.

Meanwhile, the Local Government Association’s spokesman, Martin Tett, was quick to point out that the £50 million funding is simply a fraction of the total amount councils need just to bring their roads up to reasonable standards. Although the money might be good enough to deal with potholes, Mr. Tett reiterated that it does not cover the £69 million needed by the average council in order to make its roads reasonably fit to drive on. 

The Asphalt Industry Alliance’s chairman, Alan Mackenzie, has the same opinion. He mentions that the repair of potholes and the funding allocated to it still does not address the problem regarding years of under-funding and is only a patch-and-mend strategy. The real focus, he says, should be on the proper fixing of these crumbling, dilapidated roads which will prevent potholes from developing. Mr. Mackenzie stressed the importance of an ‘invest to save’ strategy or approach which not only provides savings in the long term, but also contributes to a much better road network in the future.                



Image attributed to digitalart/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Posted on 25 Apr 2016 in News

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