Government maintenance funding cuts set to harm ‘diabolical’ district roads

PUBLISHED: 16:00 06 March 2018

Pothole

Pothole

Archant

Government funding cuts could make some North Somerset roads ‘undriveable’, according to a leading road safety charity.

North Somerset Council looks set to lose out on almost £340,000 of Government highways funding in the next financial year – increasing the cuts to around £784,000 since 2016 – although last week a Department for Transport (DfT) survey declared the district has some of the best roads in England.

But one of the area’s biggest road safety charities, Weston & Mendip Institute of Advanced Motorists, says the reduction is going to make the ‘horrendous’ roads even more dangerous for drivers.

Ken Crane, a national observer at the charity, said: “I just reckon the roads are absolutely diabolical.

“The dangers obviously are damage to cars and if the potholes are too big they can actually tear the steering wheel out of the driver’s hands and cause an accident.

“I also drive a motorbike and on two wheels it is absolutely horrendous.

“Unless they do something straight away the roads will deteriorate to the point where we won’t even be able to drive on them.

“When you look at the roads 50 years ago to now, there is no comparison.”

Figures from the Local Government Association show national roads – motorways and trunk roads – will receive 52 times more funding per mile compared to local networks by 2020.

The analysis suggests £1.1million is due to be spent on each mile of the country’s strategic road network from 2015-2020 compared to just £21,000 for local authority-maintained highways.

Despite the cuts a DfT survey has suggested North Somerset’s roads are some of the best in the country, with just one per cent of the district’s A roads in need of repair and four per cent of B and C roads.

For unclassified roads the figure is just three per cent meaning only three authorities in England fare better.

A council spokesman said: “Since 2016-2017 the DfT has incentivised councils to adopt an asset management strategy by linking the total highways maintenance settlement each authority receives to how they are performing across a number of key areas set by the DfT. “

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