The recent bad weather and floods have caused millions of pounds worth of damage across the UK. Thousands of people have been affected by rising water levels in Somerset, Oxfordshire and Surrey, and many have been forced out of their homes.
The floods have also caused significant damage to the UK’s infrastructure. Rail lines have been damaged as have a number of roads. Now, the government has now stepped in to offer councils additional money to help them to repair the damaged highways. Keep reading to find out more…
Government to offer additional £103.5 million in flood relief
After weeks of adverse weather, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin has announced that the government are making an extra £140million available to help repair roads hit by weather damage.
As part of the government’s response to the damage done during one of the worst winters on record, support for councils to fix the roads most damaged by severe weather will be increased by £36.5 million, to £80 million.
In addition, the government are also making an additional £103.5 million available to all councils across England. This is in addition to almost £900 million already made available for road maintenance this year, bringing total government investment allocated to road maintenance to more than £1 billion in 2013/14.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “It’s because of the difficult decisions we have made on public spending that we can afford to repair roads damaged by the severe weather as part of our long-term economic plan to secure Britain’s future and help hardworking people.”
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “Having the right infrastructure in place to support businesses and hardworking people is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan. This extra money will help make a real difference to the millions of road users and local residents who rely on local roads, giving them safer and smoother journeys.”
Additional damage from floods has put financial pressure on councils
Councils have a responsibility to maintain their roads but the exceptional weather has caused significant additional damage. As the flood waters have receded and councils have been able to assess the impact, it is clear that damage to certain roads has been particularly severe in flood hit areas.
This additional money will be allocated on a formula basis, and will be distributed to the majority of councils in England this March to ensure that they can make use of it as soon as possible and complete works before the summer holidays.
In order to qualify for this extra funding, local authorities will be required to publish information on their websites by the end of August 2014 showing where this money has been spent.
The Freight Transport Association has welcomed the Government’s decision to offer local highway authorities additional financial help although they have called on councils to embed good practice recommendations when it comes to build and maintain more reliable roads.
Malcolm Bingham, FTA’s Head of Road Network Management Policy, said: “We have suffered from years of missed opportunities in highway maintenance and now is the time to take action to create resilience in the network – something that is vital to the economic future of the freight and logistics industry.”