Funds sought for drought-damaged roads in East Anglia

The cost of repairing "millions of pounds" of road damage caused by the East Anglian drought could be eased if a government funding bid is successful.

The Environment Agency said areas of the Fens were still suffering drought conditions and councils claimed this had caused "extensive damage" to roads.

Councils including Cambridgeshire, Peterborough, Norfolk, Lincolnshire and Suffolk are to make the joint bid.

They have invited the Secretary of State for Transport to view the damage.

'Serious damage'

The consortium of local authorities has written to Transport Secretary Justine Greening requesting that the government "accepts a formal bid for additional capital funding to enable damage caused by the drought to be rectified".

Councillor Steve Criswell, cabinet member for community infrastructure at Conservative-led Cambridgeshire County Council, said low moisture content had caused soil to shrink which had resulted in "serious damage" to road surfaces in an extensive area of the Fens.

"We have been trying to keep pace with the repair work, but now the extent of the damage means we need to look for assistance to meet the cost of carrying out the required repairs.

"[These] are well beyond the financial resources of individual local authorities in the region," he said.

A spokesman for the consortium said authorities were still compiling a list of affected areas, but the bill for repairs was "already estimated to run into several millions of pounds".

The bid for government aid is expected to be submitted at the end of February.

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