Road network in ‘disarray’ after summer rain
Local Government Association
Local councils are facing bills of up to £10m to repair roads damaged by floods and heavy rain in the past few months.
Services and infrastructure projects could be cut as councils priorities emergency repairs to the road network, according to the
Local Government Association.
It said that across the country new potholes and cracks have opened up, carriageways have completely collapsed, bridges and tunnels are crumbling and overwhelmed drainage systems have broken.
"The relentless rain and flooding we’ve endured over the past few months has left our road network in disarray," said Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell, Chair of the LGA.
The heavy downpours have also caused large sections of roads, pavements and footpaths to collapse, bridges and tunnels to crumble and overwhelmed drainage systems to break.
The LGA said the Department for Transport should set up an Emergency Capital Highways Maintenance Fund, as it did following the floods of 2007, to support the more than 370 councils in England and Wales.
As roads are classified as capital spending, councils cannot claim from the government’s Bellwin Scheme for emergency financial help for councils.
"The true scale of the damage is still coming to light but some councils, who were already managing severe budget cuts, are facing bills of £10 million to make their roads safe," said Cllr Cockell.
"This is money they hadn’t budget for and don’t have lying around, but not carrying out these repairs isn’t an option.
"Bellwin funding is a huge help to councils in supporting flooded communities and businesses to get back on their feet, but it can’t be used for major road damage. Some councils are facing near impossible decisions to further reduce already stretched services or cancel plans for much-needed infrastructure projects to boost growth.
"We know times are tough, but we also know government has money available. Many councils urgently need financial support to help them repair their ravaged roads and get local growth back on track."
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