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'Disappointing' government funding reduction for Lincolnshire's roads

The county council claims a government funding cut will result in less road resurfacing, fewer potholes filled, and more angry motorists.

The Department for Transport has announced Lincolnshire's roads will receive £12.3million less funding this year, compared to last. The county's capital maintenance grant for 2020/21 was £51m but will be £38.7m for 2021/22. This is a reduction of almost a quarter.

It is hoped the county will decide to make up the shortfall at its budget meeting tomorrow (Friday).

Potholes like this one in Moulton may not be filled unless the county council makes up a Government shortfall.
Potholes like this one in Moulton may not be filled unless the county council makes up a Government shortfall.

Coun Richard Davies, executive member for highways at Lincolnshire County Council, said: "For such a vitally important service to be cut so drastically is frustrating and disappointing.

"We must receive more reports, requests and comments about our roads, than about any other county council service.

"We operate as efficiently as we can, and ultimately the limit to how well we can maintain and improve our roads is based on how much money we can invest in it. This funding cut will mean less road resurfacing, fewer potholes filled, and more exacerbated motorists.

"I don't want this to be the start of a worrying trend of cuts to our roads funding. Prevention is always better than the cure, and without adequate funding, there will be long-term consequences for the state of our roads, and huge investment needed to bring them back up to standard."

The council says, in 2019/20 it was able to invest around £25,000 per mile in our road network, while London councils were able to afford an average of £62,000 per mile.

Lincolnshire County councillors will discuss allocating an extra £10m to highway maintenance for 2021/22 during the budget meeting tomorrow (Friday).

Council leader Martin Hill said: "I will recommend that we make up the entire £12.3m shortfall this year in our budget – providing an extra £2.3m on top of the current plans – but the local taxpayers of Lincolnshire should not be expected to cover indefinitely money which should go to road repairs that the government holds from fuel duty.

"Continuing to invest in Lincolnshire's infrastructure would have been an ideal way to continue the Government's agenda of 'levelling up' the county. But a roads funding reduction of nearly 25% seems completely counter productive and at odds with that manifesto promise.

"County councils like ours are usually dealt a raw deal compared to our counterparts in larger cities. Alongside other rural shire counties that have been affected by funding cuts like this, we'll continue to lobby to reverse that trend and see a fairer funding model brought in that recognises the unique challenges a large county like ours – with over 5,500miles of road – faces. "

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