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14.08.12

LGA calls for emergency road repair funding

Floods and heavy rain this summer have led to a huge road repair bill for councils, the LGA has reported. Newcastle City Council has to cover £9m worth of repairs. 

The LGA has warned that funds may need to be diverted from other areas of spending to plug the gap, and is calling on the DfT to set up an Emergency Capital Highways Maintenance Fund. 

Severe weather has caused cracks and potholes, the collapse of large sections of roads, pavements and footpaths, crumbling bridges and tunnels and breaking drainage systems.

The Government has set up the Bellwin scheme to provide emergency financial help for councils to support communities and businesses. But this does not cover road repairs, which are classified as capital spending. 

Cllr Sir Merrick Cockell, chair of the LGA, said: “The relentless rain and flooding we’ve endured over the past few months has left our road network in disarray. 

“The true scale of the damage is still coming to light but some councils, who were already managing severe budget cuts, are facing bills of £10m to make their roads safe. This is money they hadn’t budget for and don’t have lying around, but not carrying out these repairs isn’t an option. 

“Some councils are facing near impossible decisions to further reduce already stretched services or cancel plans for much-needed infrastructure projects to boost growth. 

“We know times are tough, but we also know government has money available. Many councils urgently need financial support to help them repair their ravaged roads and get local growth back on track.”

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