Nearly £10M to be spent on fixing potholes on Somerset roads
Nearly £10M will be spent fixing potholes in Somerset roads following a one-off windfall from central government.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond MP announced in his budget on October 29 that an extra £420M of new funding would be spent on improvements and repairs to Britain’s road network.
The Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed that the South West will see just under £72M of this funding.
Somerset County Council has not confirmed precisely how and where the money will be spent, but has called on the government for more long-term, stable funding for its transport network.
Announcing the funding, roads minister Jesse Norman MP said: “Potholes are a huge problem for all road users, and too often we see issues occurring at the same place time after time.
“That’s why we are investing more in improving our roads than at any time before – £15bn between 2015 and 2020 and a further £28.8 bn to 2025, plus an immediate extra £420M for potholes and local road maintenance just this year.
“The South West will be getting an extra £71m this winter to keep its roads in good condition to keep drivers and cyclists safe.”
Of the £71.917M Somerset will be able to spend £9.98M.
This is the third-highest allocation within the government’s funding pot, behind Devon (£18.754M) and Cornwall (£10.056M), and higher than the amounts for Gloucestershire (£7.905M), Wiltshire (£7.358M) and Dorset (£6.165M).
Councillor David Fothergill, leader of the council, said the funding was welcome but more work was needed to provide long-term sustainbility.
He said: “On the face of it, this is an increase on previous years which is good news for Somerset and a welcome boost to our road network.
“However, while one-off pots of money are always very gratefully received, we repeat our calls for a clearer, sustained model for highways funding which would allow us to plan our budgets more effectively in the long-term.”
The council has not yet confirmed how and where in the county it intends to spend the money.