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Over £140,000,000 to be spent on maintenance of roads in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire

PUBLISHED: 11:42 03 March 2015 | UPDATED: 11:42 03 March 2015

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Archant

Blame bad weather and the dreaded floods, or underfunding, there’s no doubt that we’ve all noticed the increasing number of potholes and cracks in our local roads.

Whether it’s the street where we live, or the M4, there always seems to be a suspension-testing hazard to avoid. And while we may curse roadworks when trapped in the queues, these vital and sometimes emergency repairs keep us travelling.

At the end of 2014 the government announced just under £6 billion would be spent on maintenance of local highways over the next six years. Much of this has been allocated according to a needs-based formula. Here’s the share in our two counties, by unitary authority (council area):

• Buckinghamshire £54,807,000

• Milton Keynes £26,737,000

• West Berkshire £22,520,000

• Wokingham £13,859,000

• Windsor & Maidenhead £11,368,000

• Bracknell Forest £8,880,000

• Reading £7,685,000

• Slough £4,717,000

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Meanwhile, The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has produced a league table of the amount of money allocated by government to each local authority on road improvements over the last five years in England. As we bump along it may seem our areas seem to get less attention, but in fact we’ve done comparatively well. The top five authorities for percentage increase between 2014/15 and the previous 12 months were: Stoke-on-Trent (155%), Greater Manchester (143%), Windsor and Maidenhead (121.9%), Southend-on-Sea (109.4%) and Norfolk (100%).

The top five local authorities for an increase in allocation over the five year period 2010/11 to 2014/15 were Lancashire, from £32.2m to £96m (198.1% increase); Wokingham, from £3.1m to £7.9m (154.8% increase), North East Lincolnshire from £3m to £7.m (£153.3% increase), Milton Keynes, from £5.7m to £12.3m (115.8% increase) and Cornwall, from £25m to £50.6m (102.4% increase).

None of our authority areas appears at the bottom end of the league table: the biggest reductions in allocated funding for road repairs for 2014/5 compared to the previous 12 months were Portsmouth (down by 83.7%), Halton (down by 73.5%), Luton (down by 61.6%), Bedford (down by 40.9%) and East Sussex (down by 37.9%).

However over the five year period 2014/15 compared to 2010/11, the local authorities with the biggest reduction on overall allocation were Poole (down 67.9%), Derby (down 55.9%), Dorset (down 42.2%), Kent (down 41.6%) and Peterborough (down 31.4%).

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: “We know that in each case there are different circumstances as to why a local authority might have a reduced or increased allocation, but it is important to release that the road system is the lifeblood of any local authority. The road network is responsible for the survival and prosperity of the local economy and the jobs of people. It should be treated with the investment it deserves, for now and the future.

He added: “The variation in figures brings into focus the issue of greater consistency in funding, which might help in long term planning. The government must keep up funding until the roads maintenance backlog has gone.”

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