Leeds gets nearly £2m to fix potholes - but it is still 'a drop in the ocean'

Nearly £2m has been awarded to Leeds City Council for road maintenance and potholes - but campaigners say it is still a "drop in the ocean."

A report last week said councils needed to spend 1bn over the next decade to bring roads up to scratch
A report last week said councils needed to spend 1bn over the next decade to bring roads up to scratch

The council has been given £541,847 towards pothole repairs and flood resilience, with another £1.458M to reward examples of best practice.

A total of £200 million allocated to English councils could resurface more than 1,000 miles of road, the Department for Transport said.

Sign up to our Business newsletter

It said the investment comes from the £6.6 billion the Government is providing for local road improvements in the six years to 2021.

The DfT is also funding research to develop ways of preventing potholes through new road surface materials or repair techniques such as 3D printing.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "Every motorist knows that potholes have been a problem in the last few years.

"That is why the Government is continuing to step up its funding to local authorities to address this.

"It is now up to highways authorities to innovate and use new technologies to solve the problem."

A report published last week warned that councils in England and Wales would need to spend nearly £10 billion over a decade to bring all their roads up to scratch.

The study by the Asphalt Industry Alliance found that the number of potholes repaired by local authorities rose by more than a fifth last year, roughly in line with an increase in highway maintenance budgets.

A spokesman from the RAC welcomed the funding and use of technology to prevent potholes forming in the first place.

However he said "investigating techniques like 3D printing should not be a distraction from tackling the real problem, which is one of funding.

"The money being made available to councils is still a drop in the ocean compared to what is really needed."

The RAC called on the Government to consider ring-fencing a proportion of taxes raised from fuel duty as a source of long-term funding.

Martin Tett, the Local Government Association's transport spokesman, said: "While innovation will help councils who are fixing a pothole every 17 seconds, funding challenges remain for local authorities to deal with long-term maintenance of their local roads and address a backlog of road repairs which has risen to nearly £10 billion to provide better roads that are safer and more resilient to constant use.

"This is why we have called on the Government to also invest the equivalent of 2p of existing fuel duty to bring our roads up to scratch.

"Long-term funding will help to avoid more costly short-term repairs. The Government needs to address this in the forthcoming Spending Review."