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Councils beg ministers for extra road repair cash

Councils in England last week urged the Department for Transport (DfT) to give them extra road repair cash for routes damaged by the severe winter weather.

A Local Government Association (LGA) report says that councils face a £165M funding gap for road repairs, following cuts to the road maintenance budgets.

The report warns that the damage caused to roads last month during the coldest December in 100 years, coupled with public spending cuts, represents a “double whammy” to local authorities.

Last financial year they fixed more than 2M potholes at an average cost of £78.

To help meet this cost, the then government gave councils an extra £100M to share between them. But this is not available this year, and coupled with a £65M cut in DfT highways maintenance cash for local authorities, the LGA says roads will present a safety risk to road users and disruption to traffic without more money.

LGA economy and transport board chairman Peter Box has written to transport secretary Philip Hammond urging him to look at providing extra funding. However, the DfT has turned down the request.

Devolved governments in Scotland and Wales have already allocated extra cash to their councils.

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