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‘Cash we are given is only a fraction of what we need to fix potholes’

Pothole
Pothole

Roads in Wakefield are set to receive half a million in government funding to help tackle the blight of potholes – but the cash amounts to only around one per cent of what would be needed to sort the problem.

Wakefield stands to receive £507,378 from the pot as Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced £100m to repair almost two million potholes across England and protect roads from further bad weather.

But the council - which has responsibility for a network of roads that would cover the distance from Lands End to John o' Groats - said it would need a figure closer to £50m to repair its highways.

Coun Matthew Morley, Wakefield cabinet member for transport and highways said: “The government has recognised that councils need more money if we are to stand a chance of tackling the pothole problem left behind following this year’s harsh winter.

“However, to make real long-term improvements in our roads it is essential that the Government to make a significant and sustainable invest to allow planned highway maintenance as opposed to the reactive methods of funding that they are currently demonstrating.

“What they are offering us is a drop in ocean compared to what is needed.”

“We expect to get around an extra £500k, which is a welcome boost but this will still not enable us to meet all the road repair requests.

“In response to the damage done by this year’s prolonged winter weather we are working six days a week to deal with the potholes and have already increased the number of teams who are out repairing the roads.

“We continue to inspect and monitor the road condition across the district so that we can prioritise our resources where they are needed the most.”

The Express has launched a campaign alongside our sister titles across the country to lobby central government for funding to tackle the blight of potholes.

The DfT funding announcement from the DfT 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”.

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.

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 £9.3bn 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.