Government funding to repair damaged roads in Shropshire cut by a quarter

There has been criticism after funding for highways has been cut
There has been criticism after funding for highways has been cut

The County Councils Network says the reduction in funding across England means councils will “have no choice” but to cancel planned road maintenance projects.

Shropshire Council will see its funding reduced by £7 million – from £27.6 to £20.6, while Telford & Wrekin Council faces a cut of £1.4m – from £5.7m to £4.3. Both equate to a reduction of 25 per cent.

Across England road maintenance funding has been cut by £400m for the coming year.

The funding includes £500m to repair potholes – with £9.2m for Shropshire and £1.9m for Telford & Wrekin.

The Department for Transport estimates the money for Shropshire could repair 183,000 potholes, and 38,300 in Telford & Wrekin.

Road maintenance funding is allocated to councils and combined authorities based on a formula which uses the length of roads, number of bridges and level of street lighting.

In addition, Telford and Wrekin Borough Council will also receive £946,000 for transport improvement projects such as road safety schemes, cycle ways and bus lanes for 2021-22. Shropshire Council will receive £1.6m.

Councillor Lee Carter of Telford & Wrekin Council, said: “Potholes are the scourge of our roads – they cause widespread damage to cars and bikes.

“The Chancellor promised they would all soon be gone – then cut the fund to get rid of them.”

Councillor Barry Lewis, economic growth spokesperson for the councils network, said: “The Government has given with one hand and taken with the other, as the overall funding pot for roads maintenance will fall compared to last year.

“Our councils rely heavily on this capital funding to help tackle the backlog of road repairs in their areas and to ensure their road networks are in a good condition.”

“Unless further funding is made available, our councils will have no choice but to reduce their roads maintenance work this coming year.”

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, said the cut in funding for road maintenance was “worrying”.

He added: “This can only lead to roads deteriorating further and being in a worse overall state than they are now.

“Councils require certainty of funding over a longer period of time – ideally five years – so they can plan resurfacing and routine maintenance rather than being forced into having a more piecemeal approach.”

Road maintenance funding is allocated to councils and combined authorities based on a formula which uses the length of roads, number of bridges and level of street lighting.

A DfT spokesperson said: “We know high-quality local roads make a difference to people’s lives, which is why we have committed £1.125bn to local roads maintenances for 2021-22, including £500m from the Potholes Fund which will allow the equivalent of 10 million potholes to be rectified by local councils.”