Motorists in Yorkshire have become the “poor relation” to those in London, authority leaders warn today as new analysis suggests road spending is doubled in the country’s capital.
Funding for roads and pothole filling in the nation’s shire counties is “disproportionately skewed” against urban areas, the County Councils Network (CCN) claims, calling for a long-term commitment to ‘level up’ investment.
The body’s research, based on revenue expenditure and capital investment last year , includes funding for filling potholes, resurfacing, streetlight repairs and winter readiness, as well as new junctions and infrastructure.
It found that the total per mile spend for the capital was double that of Yorkshire, while shire counties spent just a third of sums allocated to their counterparts in London boroughs.
Coun David Williams, chairman of the County Councils Network which represents the national voice for England’s county councils, warns shire roads require greater repairs.
“The scourge of potholes and gridlocked roads are amongst the biggest local issues council leaders find in their mailboxes every week,” he said.
“But today’s analysis shows that county motorists are clearly the poor relation to drivers in London and other cities areas when it comes to how much gets spent on fixing potholes and improving the local road network, with drivers across the country facing a pothole lottery, even within regions.”
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'Huge disparities in regional funding'
Last year, the CCN says, some 11,117 miles of road networks in shire counties were identified to be in need of maintenance, totalling a distance 15 times greater than those in London.
But it’s analysis suggests that these same counties were able to spend £20,885 per mile on road repairs, pothole filling, and constructing new junctions and networks, compared to £62,350 in London. The total per mile spend for Yorkshire was £31,042.
“Today’s analysis shows that there are huge disparities in what the regions receive for roads, pothole filling, and anti-congestion measures compared to London and the major cities,” said Coun Stephen Giles-Medhurst, member for transport and infrastructure.
“With over 11,000 miles in county areas identified as requiring repairs, the government should back up its rhetoric in ‘levelling up’ the country and distribute a fairer share of funding for roads in rural areas in its upcoming funding announcements.”
The government has pledged £2bn for filling potholes over the next four years, building on a one-off £420m fund made available to councils in 2018.
Now, with an announcement due in coming weeks, county leaders are calling for a “fair share” of the promised funding, arguing distribution must match last year’s allocation of 74 per cent for shire counties.
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “Potholes are a nuisance for all road users. This Government has already pledged to spend £2bn so councils can improve their roads.
“Local roads funding is determined by formula for each council’s specific needs and it is for them to prioritise spending in their areas.
“We are also looking at innovative approaches to highways maintenance to future-proof our roads.”