Philip Pank (Transport Correspondent), The Times, March 10 2014.
Councils are being given an extra £146 million to fix roads damaged by the winter floods, the Government announced yesterday. Local authorities welcomed the help, but warned that they were already facing a £10 billion backlog in repairs to the local roads network and large compensation claims from drivers who hit potholes last year.
A fund covering the areas worst hit by the flooding is being raised to £80 million from £36.5 million while £103 million is being made available from the Department for Transport.It is hoped that repairs can be completed in time for the school summer holidays.
Councils are required to publish details of where the money has been spent by the end of August. The money has come from departmental savings.
Patrick McLoughlin, the Transport Secretary, said: “This extra money will help make a real difference to the millions of road users and local residents who rely on local roads, giving them safer and smoother journeys.”
Mike Jones, chairman of the Local Government Association’s environment and housing board, said: “We do not yet know what the full bill for the cost of this winter’s devastating floods will be, but we expect it to be more than £140 million. Nevertheless, we are pleased the Government has recognised the need to provide funding.”
The widow of a charity cyclist who died after hitting a pothole says she has been left no option but to sue a council. Martyn Uzzell, 51, of Clevedon, Somerset, was killed in 2011 while on a fund-raising ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats. He hit a ditch on the A65 in North Yorkshire and was thrown into the path of a car. An inquest into his death was told that North Yorkshire Council had missed opportunities to repair the road. Kate Uzzell told the BBC: “[Suing] is not what I wanted to do. But I wanted there to be a prosecution and for them to stand up and be counted.”