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BUDGET 2011: Extra £100m for potholes

Local authorities will receive a further £100 million to repair damaged roads, Chancellor George Osborne announced today.

The funding to aid English councils in repairing potholes comes in addition to £100m of funding announced by Transport secretary Philip Hammond in February.

Both these funding announcements are in addition to the £831 million already provided to councils for road maintenance this year and the £3 billion the Government has committed over the next four years.

While the extra funding was welcomed, road builders urged the Government to take a longer-term view on highways maintenance.

“Road maintenance remains a huge issue for the UK,” said Tarmac National Contracting & Middle East managing director Paul Fleetham.

“There is still a backlog approaching 12 years in road repairs in England and Wales, so these short-term funds only serve to prevent a bad problem becoming even worse. To put this additional money into context, the winter of 2009 alone caused £400m additional damage to our roads, so this is not going to suddenly solve the problems overnight. 

“Roads are a vital strategic asset, and we must adopt a longer-term approach to funding and structural maintenance. I urge the Government to explore the benefits of providing local authorities with their highways funding allocation over five years, as this could help both councils and private sector partners to manage the road asset more effectively in the long term.”

Asphalt Industry Alliance chairman Colin Loveday added: “The additional £100 million is a welcome recognition of the fragile condition of the local road network. It will help towards the cost of repairing the additional damage caused by severe winter weather that local authorities estimated last year at £400 million.”

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