A record £6bn will be spent on tackling potholes and improving local roads between 2015 and 2021, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced today (23 December 2014).
The investment amounts to £976m a year, enough to fix around 18 million potholes across the country.
It is the first time councils have been given locked-in funding over this length of time, which is intended to help them plan ahead and save money for the taxpayer.
McLoughlin said: “Roads play a significant part in everyday life. Poorly maintained local roads, blighted by potholes, are a menace to all road users, particularly during the festive period as people travel to see family and friends.
“It is vital we have good quality roads. This government has already taken strong action by spending £1bn more on local roads maintenance than was spent in the previous parliament.
“The £6bn funding I am announcing today will put an end to short-term fixes and will mean we have committed £10bn between 2010 and 2021.
“This huge investment is part of our long-term economic plan to ensure we have a transport network fit for the 21st century.”
It was also announced that £578 million has been set aside for an incentive fund scheme which will start in 2016 to reward councils who demonstrate they are delivering value for money in carrying out cost effective improvements.
Matthew Lugg, director of public services for Mouchel Infrastructure Services and advocate for the highways maintenance efficiency programme, said: “Taking a more holistic approach to planning roads and services can be game changing and deliver greater efficiencies.
“Councils who think about long-term planning and how they work together to share their resources, achieve greater economies of scale and keep the road surface in good repair, ensuring value for money for the taxpayer. Today’s announcement by the government will help to deliver this.”
Geoff Allister, executive director of the Highways Term Maintenance Association (HTMA) and advocate for the highways maintenance efficiency programme, said: “We congratulate the transport secretary in taking the step of introducing an incentive element from 2016/17 into the local highways maintenance funding for councils.
“Those that can show they truly understand the value of their asset can plan greater efficiencies and deliver cost-effective, preventative maintenance, making the available money go even further.”