Express & Star

Figures show fluctuating spend on fixing Wolverhampton potholes

Spending on fixing potholes and other road repairs has fluctuated wildly in Wolverhampton over the last five years, new figures have shown.

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There was a £1 million spend on potholes in the city in 2018/19, followed by another outlay of £368,000 during the following 12-month period. That figure then fell to £200,000 in 2020/21.

There was also a big difference in how much was spent on resurfacing projects year on year.

The city council spent £3.1m on road resurfacing in 2017/18, dropping down to around £1m the following two years before rising back to £3.3m in 2020/21.

Data, released following a Freedom of Information request by the Express & Star, showed a leap in the number of potholes fixed in Wolverhampton for the first half of 2021, with 4,559 fixed up to the end of June. This compared to 4,860 for the whole of 2020 - though the pandemic may have had an impact on work completed last year.

Such fluctuations in spending are normally down to the amount of external funding councils receive, such as Government cash, on top of money from council taxpayers.

Council bosses said they were "reliant" on Government funding for road repairs, as well as council tax, and the data shows how expenditure can change from year to year.

Councillor Steve Evans, cabinet member for city environment and climate change, said: "Last year, 219,000sq m of road were either resurfaced or surface-treated - this is preventative maintenance to prevent potholes occurring in the first place.

"We have a base budget for highways repairs and in addition to that, our spend can increase if we are given additional Government grant funding in particular years. For example, last year saw significant additional investment from challenge funding and in 2018/19 there was additional pothole funding made available by the Government.

"We are reliant on Government funding to repair our roads, the Annual Local Authority for Road Maintenance (ALARM) has calculated that the Government needs to spend over £10bn to get roads in England and Wales into a steady state."

The E&S revealed last month that spending on pothole and other road repairs in Dudley had fallen by £2m since 2018, due to a fall in Government funding.

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