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Cash strapped councils facing rising bill of pothole repairs in Gloucestershire

By The Citizen  |  Posted: April 05, 2014

potholes

Potholes across the UK could cost £12bn to repair a new report claims

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Record flooding this winter has left a pothole repair bill of a staggering £12bn in its wake across the UK.

And as one of the worst hit areas, Gloucestershire County Council is likely to pay more than most other regions to get roads back into a reasonable state.

A report has revealed the UK is facing the ‘catch-up’ cost of getting local roads back to a reasonable state has now soared by £1.5billion in a single year because of the deluge.

Councils in England said the cost of restoring roads to a reasonable condition had risen 30per cent since last year to an average of £90million per authority.

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In his Budget last month, Chancellor George Osborne announced an extra £200million to repair potholes in 2014-15 . And Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced £183.5million emergency funding to help with road repairs following ‘the wettest winter on record’.

He said the cash would pay for the repair of 3.3million potholes.

But motoring groups said this was ‘a sticking plaster not a cure’.

It would now take 12 years to clear the road repair backlog in England and Wales and 14 years in London, says the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey carried out by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA).

Scott Tompkins, lead commissioner highway authority at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “We spend up to £40m on road maintenance, including resurfacing and surface repairs.

"The highways teams are busy identifying and fixing hundreds of potholes each day and in the last 12 months we’ve fixed nearly 50,000 in Gloucestershire.

“The well used roads in the county are inspected at least every month.

"Unsafe potholes are fixed within 24 hours, and others, if they meet the national safety requirements, will be repaired within 28 days which is in line with UK guidelines.”

The Local Government Association said the country was facing a ‘roads crisis escalating at an alarming pace’.

Peter Box, chairman of the LGA’s economy and transport board, said: “Councils have long warned that our already dilapidated road network could not cope with another extreme winter and the unprecedented recent flooding experienced across the country has left behind a trail of destruction to our highways.

“The Government’s promised extra funding is welcome but it is simply not enough to free councils trapped in an endless cycle of only being able to patch up our deteriorating network.

“This will always be more expensive than longer-term preventative work.

“This country is now facing a roads crisis escalating at an alarming pace with every bout of severe weather and following years of under funding.”

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8 comments

  • RoadWombat  |  April 05 2014, 5:32PM

    If you see your road with painted rings around some of the potholes and not others, go and get a can of paint the same colour and put rings around the rest!

  • thestig2  |  April 04 2014, 7:56PM

    how many time do we see council workers on extended breaks or a gang out to do 2 man job. it would also cut costs if there wasn't so much admin staff or high up managers doing nowt. it makes me laugh that you see a work van go down a street filling in some holes and when asked why not all hole being filled i get told we not got paperwork for it yet. don't make sense. plus it wasn't so long ago the so hard up councils were putting millions away in Icelandic banks on the quiet and only the bank crashes brought to light.

    |   1
  • meymey  |  April 03 2014, 4:59PM

    seems everyone below me has a valid point ,i remember when i worked for GCC money was always held back until around march when they went spend crazy because a new budget was due in april from the government so they had to get rid of all monies or be penalised in the new year

    |   5
  • Dave_t10  |  April 03 2014, 4:26PM

    @RoadWombat has it spot on. So much money has been wasted from the road maintenance funds mainly over the 3 terms of the last Labour governments. Speed bumps, road narrowing, stupid centre islands etc anything bar maintain the road properly. I also take objection to this paper consistently using the term 'cash strapped councils'. Believe me, the councils are not run free of their milk yet. There is plenty put aside in reserve, and there is much efficiency savings still ripe for the taking. There are also many, many needless council services which should be scrapped and would save tens of millions. No instead the council would rather cut the services that people actually use - and those they are required to provide - a weekly bin collection for one. Let's be honest the current cost of council tax is incredible. At least the recent freezes have helped a little, but in reality they should remain frozen for another 10-12 years so that they return to a reasonable rate.

    |   3
  • Dave_t10  |  April 03 2014, 4:25PM

    @RoadWombat has it spot on. So much money has been wasted from the road maintenance funds mainly over the 3 terms of the last Labour governments. Speed bumps, road narrowing, stupid centre islands etc anything bar maintain the road properly. I also take objection to this paper consistently using the term 'cash strapped councils'. Believe me, the councils are not run free of their milk yet. There is plenty put aside in reserve, and there is much efficiency savings still ripe for the taking. There are also many, many needless council services which should be scrapped and would save tens of millions. No instead the council would rather cut the services that people actually use - and those they are required to provide - a weekly bin collection for one. Let's be honest the current cost of council tax is incredible. At least the recent freezes have helped a little, but in reality they should remain frozen for another 10-12 years so that they return to a reasonable rate.

    |   5
  • JemmyWood  |  April 03 2014, 4:19PM

    I do wish that GCC would stop blaming the bad weather over the winter for the state of Gloucestershires roads. Yes, it was a contributary factor... but its mainly down to them not actually doing any repairs for 3 years before hand in the vain hope of trying to save cash.

    |   8
  • RoadWombat  |  April 03 2014, 3:21PM

    Serves them right for wasting so much on unnecessary traffic lights, calming measures, needless islands plonked at random in the road, filling in bus stops etc. etc. All they had to do was maintain the roads properly but, no, that wasn't fun enough for them, so off they went designing nonsense and now they're paying the price.

    |   8
  • meymey  |  April 03 2014, 2:18PM

    cant remember where i read the report that it was proven its far cheaper to resurface than it is to fill holes

    |   5

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