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Sun December 03 2023

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Potholes get HS2 dividend

17 Nov English local highway authorities are to get an extra £150m this year and next to spend on road maintenance.

Extra for funding for road maintenance has been allocated from the £36bn saved over the next 20 years by cancelling the Manchester leg of HS2.

According to the current government, £8.3bn from HS2 savings will go to local road maintenance by 2034 – but that rather assumes it will still be making all the spending decisions until then.

To increase transparency and ensure the money actually leads to an increase in the number of roads being resurfaced, local authorities will be required to publish information on their websites on a regular basis explaining how they are spending the funding in their area.

Rick Green, chair of the Asphalt Industry Alliance, said: “This additional funding is good news for local authorities in England and is much needed to help them tackle the backlog of repairs.

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“We have long been calling for surety of funding over the long-term and the fact that the Department for Transport has committed to this money being available over the next 11 years should allow highways teams to implement more efficient works to improve local road conditions and enhance the resilience of the network once they have details of their allocation.

“This long-term investment will also help give the asphalt supply chain confidence to further invest in plant upgrades, materials innovation and technical advancements to support the development and delivery of lower carbon roads in line with the government’s net zero ambitions.”

Transport secretary Mark Harper said: “Most people travel by road and potholes can cause misery for motorists, from expensive vehicle repairs to bumpy, slow and dangerous journeys. Our £8.3bn boost to repair roads across the country shows that we’re on the side of drivers.

“Today’s biggest-ever funding uplift for local road improvements is a victory for all road users, who will enjoy smoother, faster and safer trips – as we use redirected HS2 funding to make the right long-term decisions for a brighter future.”

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