Extra £1m to plug potholes on Leeds roads but ‘significant shortfall’ remains

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TRANSPORT Secretary Chris Grayling has pledged almost £1m in extra pothole cash to right the ravages that winter has caused to the city’s roads - but council chiefs say there remains a “significant shortfall” in the funding needed to clear the backlog of highway maintenance work needed.

The cash is part of £100m announced today for councils across England to be spent repairing potholes and storm damage to roads caused by an “unusually prolonged spell of freezing weather”, Mr Grayling said.

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Councils in the West Yorkshire Combined Authority area are to receive over £3.1m - with Leeds receiving £989,926 and Wakefield getting £507,378. Across Yorkshire, over £10m will be given.

Mr Grayling said the money comes on top of the £75m given to councils from the Pothole Action Fund this year.

He said: “We are giving councils even more funding to help repair their roads so all road users can enjoy their journeys without having to dodge potholes.”

Earlier this month, the YEP revealed that Leeds would spend around £1m of its own funds on repairing potholes this year, alongside a further £711,000 of government cash.

Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

But council leader Coun Judith Blake said the new money was still not enough.

She said: “While this announcement by the government to assist our work preventing and tackling the problem of potholes is certainly very welcome, there remains a significant shortfall in the funding that is needed to clear the current backlog of highway maintenance work in the city.

“If we are to make significant improvements in the long-term, more funding needs to be provided on a national level to ensure that the demands of the city’s highway maintenance programme continue to be met.”

A “long-term, sustainable” solution is needed to tackle Britain’s damaged roads, the Local Government Association has said.

Transport spokesman Martin Tett said: “It is positive that the Government has listened to councils and made more funding available to help repair local roads which have been affected by the recent severe winter weather. However, the funding announced today will provide just over 1 per cent of what is needed to tackle our current £9.3 billion local roads repair backlog.”

Kane Pigford.

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