Councils in England are being offered an additional £140m for repairs to roads damaged by bad weather, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced.
Support for highways most severely damaged by recent weather will increase by £36.5m to £80m, while a further £103.5m will be shared between town halls.
Allocated on a formula basis, the additional funding will only be made available to local authorities that publish spending information on their websites by the end of August 2014. It is expected that much of the money will be allocated to councils in England by the end of this week.
However, council leaders warned the cost of road repairs following the extreme winter weather was likely to exceed £140m.
Prime minister David Cameron said: ‘It’s because of the difficult decisions we have made on public spending that we can afford to repair roads damaged by the severe weather as part of our long-term economic plan to secure Britain’s future and help hardworking people.’
Total government investment in road maintenance over 2013/14 now stands at £1bn, with some £80m being made available specifically for flood hit areas.
McLoughlin said: ‘Having the right infrastructure in place to support businesses and hardworking people is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan.
‘This extra money will help make a real difference to the millions of road users and local residents who rely on local roads, giving them safer and smoother journeys’
Responding to the news, chair of the Local Government Association’s environment and housing board, Cllr Mike Jones, said: ‘It is good news for residents that government has listened and responded to councils’ call for more money to repair flood-hit roads.
‘We do not yet know what the full bill for the cost of this winter’s devastating floods will be, but we expect it to be more than £140m.’
‘Councils already face a substantial £10.5bn shortfall to bring our roads up to scratch and this has been exacerbated by adverse weather, which seems to be becoming increasingly common.
‘There is an even greater need for increased and consistent funding over a number of years for the road network to recover, such as investing in widespread resurfacing projects. This money shows the Government has recognised the need to provide additional funding.’