William Eichler 17 November 2023

£8bn of HS2 savings to be spent on ending pothole ‘blight’

£8bn of HS2 savings to be spent on ending pothole ‘blight’ image
Image: O de R / Shutterstock.com.

Transport secretary Mark Harper has confirmed the allocations of an £8.3bn plan to resurface England’s pothole-marked road system, set out in the wake of HS2 cuts.

Under the Network North plan, local highway authorities will receive £150m this financial year, followed by a further £150m for 2024/2025. The remaining funds will be allocated through to 2034.

Transport secretary Mark Harper said: ‘Most people travel by road and potholes can cause misery for motorists, from expensive vehicle repairs to bumpy, slow and dangerous journeys. Our £8.3bn boost to repair roads across the country shows that we’re on the side of drivers.’

The funding is divided as follows:

• £3.3bn for local authorities in the North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber

• £2.2bn for local authorities in the West Midlands and East Midlands

• £2.8bn for local authorities in the East of England, South East, South West and, for the first time in 8 years, London

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: ‘Well-maintained road surfaces could save drivers up to £440 each in expensive vehicle repairs, helping motorists keep more of the cash in their pocket.

‘This unprecedented £8.3bn investment will pave the road for better and safer journeys for millions of people across the country and put an end to the blight of nuisance potholes.’

The Local Government Association (LGA) recently warned that the UK has fallen far behind other high-income countries when it comes to funding local road repairs. In 2006 the Government spent £4bn on local road maintenance. By 2019, this had dropped to £2bn.

Responding to the announcement, Cllr Darren Rodwell, transport spokesperson for the LGA, said: 'Councils want to invest in cost-effective and resilient resurfacing, rather than retrospectively dealing with potholes and this funding is a significant boost towards improving more of the 186,000 miles of England’s local roads.

'The LGA has consistently called for longer-term funding to tackle our estimated £14 billion local roads repair backlog. This latest announcement will provide some much-needed clarity for councils on what they can expect to receive in the short term, so they can plan ahead and reinstate repairs that had been impacted by inflation. We await to see the final details of the full allocation.'

Commenting on the announcement Rick Green, chair of the Asphalt Industry Alliance, said: ‘We have long been calling for surety of funding over the long-term and the fact that the DfT has committed to this money being available over the next 11 years should allow highways teams to implement more efficient works to improve local road conditions and enhance the resilience of the network once they have details of their allocation.’

If this article was of interest, then check out our feature, 'The great pothole repair failure' by Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) chair Rick Green.

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