£1m potholes cash is ‘a drop in ocean’

News that Oxfordshire will benefit from more than £1 million from the Government to repair potholes has been criticised by transport leaders claiming it was ‘a drop in the ocean’.

The Department for Transport (DfT) announced the £50m cash fund to fix potholes across the country last Thursday and also revealed Oxfordshire would benefit from £1,036,000 – enough to fix almost 20,000 potholes.

But a transport spokesman for the Local Government Association (LGA) slammed the contribution.

Councillor Martin Tett, of the LGA, said: “While £50 million is a step in the right direction, councils need more than 230 times that amount to cover the £11.8 billion cost to bring our roads up to scratch.

“The condition of our roads is only going to get worse unless we address it as a national priority.”

Last month, the Oxfordshire Guardian reported on a Swedish pothole patcher, nicknamed ‘The Dragon’, taking to the streets of a West Oxfordshire village to fill in potholes.

The patcher earned its name due to its fire-emitting nozzle that it uses to dry out potholes before filling them. It fixes about 20 each day on average.

Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for transport, David Nimmo Smith, said: “It is welcomed funding, which we will put to excellent use in our battle with potholes.

“This additional funding, together with our new Dragon patcher, will mean that we can get on top of the road condition over the next few months,.

“There is never enough funding available nationally as well as locally to fully keep on top of the road conditions.

“Allocating this funding to potholes will allow the county to divert much-needed funding to dealing with other road issues.”

More than 100 councils across England will receive a slice of the pie over the next year to fix almost 1m potholes.

The £50m injection is part of the DfT’s £250m Pothole Action Fund included in the March budget, which will be spent by 2020/2021.

Transport secretary Patrcik McLoughlin said: “I know how important well-maintained roads are to people across the country.

“Almost every journey starts and ends on a local road.

“[Government is] giving councils long-term certainty for the first time to plan future work with the aim of preventing potholes and improving local roads, bridges and street lighting.”

President of the AA, Edmund King, tweeted after the announcement to say the cash was welcome but was still a drop in the ocean.