Laura Sharman 13 January 2020

County motorists 'poor relation' to major cities

Shire county authorities are failing to receive a ‘fair share’ of funding for roads with London receiving three times higher investment, new analysis has found today.

The research, published by the County Councils Network (CCN), reveals ‘huge’ regional disparities in local investment in England’s roads.

The figures show that shire counties were able to spend £20,885 per mile on road repairs, pothole filling, and constructing new junctions and networks last year. However, councils in London were able to spend £62,350 per mile, while the core cities invested £57,241 per mile.

The CCN warns that funding is being disproportionately skewed towards urban areas, leaving rural motorists as ?‘poor relations’?to those in the major cities.?

Cllr David Williams, County Councils Network chairman, said: ‘Due to more generous day-to-day funding and infrastructure investment, cities and urban areas are in a position to spend disproportionate amounts in keeping their roads maintained or upgraded compared to councils in counties. This is despite far more of our road network in the shires requiring repairs and improvements.

County leaders are calling for the Government to ‘level up’ regional infrastructure investment.

Cllr Williams added: ‘These findings show that it is imperative our areas receive a fair share of the government’s new fund, in proportion to the number of miles we are responsible for, while ensuring the longer-term commitment to level up funding for national infrastructure doesn’t bypass county areas that stretch across the length and breadth of England and are the vital arteries for those ‘left-behind’ towns.’

A London Councils spokesperson said: 'There are 16,675 kilometres of road in London – the distance from London to Antarctica – and the capital currently faces a highways repairs backlog of around £1bn.

'We want to see all local authorities across the country receive the funding they require for roads maintenance. That includes support for meeting London’s particular needs and investing in the capital’s hard-working roads network.'

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