Express & Star

Hold your council to account over potholes, says Transport Secretary

Transport Secretary Mark Harper has urged people to hold their councils to account over the state of the roads.


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Mr Harper said the Government had allocated £8.3 billion to local councils for improving the roads following the cancellation of the HS2 link to Manchester in October.

Mr Harper was in Wolverhampton to promote Jane Stevenson's campaign to be re-elected in Wolverhampton North East.

He said local authorities had already received the first wave of that money, which should have a 'transformational' effect when it came to ridding the roads of potholes.

He said local councils were obliged to reveal which roads had been repaired on their websites.

He said he hoped the public would look at how the money was being spent and ensure that the correct roads were being prioritised.

Mr Harper said the weather had been particularly bad this year, though, meaning there were more potholes than normal.

"One of the reasons why, when the Prime Minister made the decision last year to cancel the second phase of HS2, we took every penny of that to reinvest in transport, and £8.3 billion of that is going to be invested with local authorities on improving road maintenance," he said.

"They had the first chunk of that in the last financial year, the second chunk this financial year, we've made them be transparent on what they are spending it on, so actually people locally will be able to go have a look at what their council is doing.

"Over the next 10 years, that amount of money will actually be transformational, and will actually improve road maintenance. It's not something that's been promised by the Labour Party.

"We've told councils what they will be having over the next 10 years, you will already see local authorities, you can look on your council websites and see what roads have been done last year, what roads should be done this year, and then more money to come if a Conservative government is re-elected."

Mr Harper said by setting a 10-year budget, the Government had enabled councils to make long-term plans.

This could include investment in machinery and training the workforce to improve efficiency.

"It's taxpayer money, not our money – you want to make sure that money is used wisely," he said.

Miss Stevenson said some councils were more efficient in dealing with potholes than others.

"Some are really innovative with modern technology, you get hit-squads so they at least patch potholes really quickly, I think that is the priority. I think all politicians will say if you get potholes right, people feel much better about their local areas.

"In Wolverhampton we have got some craters going on, Woden Avenue, Amos Lane, I have repeatedly asked the council to look at that."