Flood threat to winter roads cash

15/08/2012
Highways Reporters

Recent torrential rain and flooding have left local councils with a £200 million repair bill for roads, bridges and pavements which could eat into their winter maintenance cash.

Following record breaking levels of rain during April, May and June, many roads and pavements have been badly cracked or even washed away.

Among the worst hit areas are Newcastle-upon-Tyne where the city council has estimated that floods have caused £9 million of damage.

In Devon repairs costing £5 million have so far been identified with less than half the road network being surveyed so far. Northumberland County Council has identified £1.4 million of emergency repairs.

Howard Robinson, Chief Executive of the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA), said: “Understandably, hard pressed local authorities have not budgeted for these repairs and due to continued funding cut backs they do not have the extra necessary resources.

"This could have serious consequences for the state of our roads next year.”

Robinson is supporting calls by the Local Government Association for the Government to establish an emergency fund for structural repairs as it did following the severe floods of 2007.

He said: “Failure to provide such a fund will mean that local authorities will have to use essential winter maintenance funds repairing the damage caused by this year’s summer flooding.

"The result will be short-term and long-term deterioration of the road network. The problems will be made far worse if we have another severe winter like those experienced in recent years.

“The government has a significant underspend of hundreds of millions of pounds from cancelling or postponing road schemes. This should be used to repair and maintain the roads that we do have.”
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