Transport secretary Chris Grayling has announced further funding of £100 million to help councils fix potholes – but Cycling UK says that while the extra cash is welcome, it is “too little too late.”
The money, officially designated ‘pothole/flood resilience funding’ by the Department for Transport (DfT), will be shared by 121 local authorities throughout England.
The largest amounts go to the North East Combined Authority, which receives £4.5 million and Devon, which gets £4.4 million plus a separate sum of £2.5 million announced by prime minister Theresa May earlier this month for repairs to the A379 and which is included in the £100 million total.
Details of the individual amounts by local authority can be found on the DfT website.
Announcing the funding, Grayling said: “People rely on good roads to get to work and to see friends or family.
“We have seen an unusually prolonged spell of freezing weather which has caused damage to our local roads.
“We are giving councils even more funding to help repair their roads so all road users can enjoy their journeys without having to dodge potholes.”
Yesterday, Cycling UK published research showing that local authorities responding to a Freedom of Information (FOI) request had spent a combined total of £43.3 million on compensation and legal fees following claims from cyclists and motorists as a result of road defects.
Responding to Grayling’s announcement today, the charity’s senior campaigns officer, Sam Jones, said: “Any funding which will help improve our roads is welcome, but it does not change the fact it is still too little too late.
“Giving money simply to fill potholes is the same as if a doctor had put a broken leg in plaster before setting the fracture. The bone is still weak, poorly healed and more likely to break again and the same can be said for our roads too if we persist in just funding patchwork jobs rather than full scale road resurfacing.
“Cycling UK’s research published on Sunday has shown the true cost is a human one as people cycling are suffering from personal injury and in the worst cases even dying.
“The government should concentrate on fixing the underlying problems of our current local roads network before building new ones.
“Councils need enough funding to adopt long-term plans for roads maintenance, as repairing streets only as they become dangerous can only ever be a short-term solution.”
Around three in four local authorities across the UK responded to Cycling UK’s FOI request.
Key findings for the period 2013-17 included:
Authorities on average incurred costs of £277,707.44
670 cyclists and 30,893 drivers had their claims accepted
Motorists received on average £841.26 per successful claim
Cyclists received on average £10,963.15 per successful claim
£9,980,158.74 was spent on legal costs.
The higher compensation secured by cyclists compared to motorists was attributed to the fact that their claims were much more likely to relate to personal injury than property damage.
DfT road traffic casualty statistics show that since 2007, some 390 cyclists have been killed or seriously injured due to poor or defective road surfaces.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.