Shropshire

Extra £1.5m for pothole repairs, says Shropshire Council

Cllr Martin Taylor-Smith
Image caption Cllr Martin Taylor-Smith said the authority had made repairs a priority

Shropshire Council has said it expects to spend more than £1.5m repairing about 150 damaged roads.

The money will come from £100m the government has offered to help councils repair potholes, Councillor Martin Taylor-Smith said.

The Conservative council spent the same amount on damaged roads when the former government released £100m in 2009.

Pothole-related compensation payouts in the county topped £40,000 last year compared to almost £3,000 in 2008-9.

The council, answering a BBC Freedom of Information request, said its highways maintenance budget had increased from £17.8m in 2008-9 to £22.1m for 2011-12.

'Future is bleak'

Martin Taylor-Smith, cabinet member for transport and IT services, said the authority had tried to make road repairs a priority as conditions were deteriorating, leading to more claims.

The council was also trying to reduce compensation claims by carrying out repairs as soon as possible, he added.

"We try to put more permanent patches down rather than temporary repairs as that is better in the long run," he said.

"We listed 150 key roads, particularly in the market towns, and repair the roads as a whole."

Telford and Wrekin Borough Council said "priority works" would be covered by the proposed budget for 2011-12.

Two freezing winters have badly damaged roads across the country as all councils face reduced budgets as part of government spending cuts.

The Local Government Agency (LGA) said if long-term answers were not found soon, road networks across the country would end up like "craters on the moon".

Helen Melhuish, from the Asphalt Industry Alliance, said road maintenance had been under funded for many years.

She said: "The future looks bleak.

"We know the local road network is in a fragile state. It's because they have been allowed to deteriorate due to under funding for at least a decade, so it's successive governments [who are to blame]."

On Wednesday, the government announced it was giving local authorities in England a share of an extra £100m to repair potholes caused by last year's freezing conditions.

The government money is calculated in relation to the number of roads a council maintains.

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