YORKSHIRE’s CRUMBLING roads are set to benefit from more than £10.2m of Government funding for emergency pothole repairs aimed at righting the ravages caused by “unusually prolonged” freezing weather - but council leaders have warned the sums fall significantly short of what is needed.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has announced £100m to repair almost 2 million potholes across England and protect roads from further bad weather.
The sum is in addition to the £75 million in government funding already given to councils from the Pothole Action Fund this year, as well as a £46 million boost for highways authorities announced just before Christmas, the Department for Transport said.
The move comes just days after a report found a fifth of local roads in England and Wales were in a poor condition and warned that councils faced a funding black hole to maintain carriageways.
Mr Grayling said: “People rely on good roads to get to work and to see friends or family.
“We have seen an unusually prolonged spell of freezing weather which has caused damage to our local roads.”
He said giving councils more funding would mean “all road users can enjoy their journeys without having to dodge potholes”.
North Yorkshire County Council. which has the longest road netowrk in the country, is set to receive one of the biggest payouts in the country, at £3.3m.
Leader Coun Carl Les said: “I think the Government is well aware of the problems that authorities with responsibilities for roads face when there is a harsher than normal winter.
“We are very please that we’re getting £3.3m, but I think we could probably have spent the whole £100m if we had the chance.”
Elsewhere, East Riding council will receive £1.3m; Leeds will get just short of £1m, and Kirklees will receive more than £600,000.
The only authority in Yorkshire to miss out on funding is Sheffield, due to the funding it receives from the Government as part of its £1.2bn 25-year PFI deal for highways maintenance.
Leeds City Council currently spends £1m per year of its own funds on repairing potholes, alongside a further £711,000 of government cash.
Council leader Coun Judith Blake said that even with the additional money - it still did not have enough to tackle the city’s problem roads.
She said: “While this announcement by the government to assist our work preventing and tackling the problem of potholes is certainly very welcome, there remains a significant shortfall in the funding that is needed to clear the current backlog of highway maintenance work in the city.
“If we are to make significant improvements in the long-term, more funding needs to be provided on a national level to ensure that the demands of the city’s highway maintenance programme continue to be met.”
The Department of Transport is also investing £900,000 across England on trailing innovations using connected vehicles to help councils more efficiently manage and plan maintenance works.
City of York Council, which received £256,000 for pothole repairs, will receive a further £72,000 to use cameras mounted on vehicles to collect data on road conditions.
Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, said: “It is positive that the Government has listened to councils and made more funding available to help repair local roads which have been affected by the recent severe winter weather.
“However, the funding announced today will provide just over 1 per cent of what is needed to tackle our current £9.3 billion local roads repair backlog.”
He warned that councils are likely to need more support from the Government and that ultimately a “long-term, sustainable funding solution” was required.