Lincolnshire’s roads “will deteriorate” if £12.3million of government funding isn’t reinstated, Lincolnshire County Council’s leader has warned.
Council leader Martin Hill, along with executive member for highways Councillor Richard Davies, met with five of the county’s MPs and transport minister Baroness Vere yesterday as part of the authority’s new “Fix Our Funds To Fix Our Roads” campaign.
Leaders say that if a 25% government cut to its roads maintenance budget (from £51 million to £39 million) continues, 72,000 potholes could be left unfilled or 111 miles of road left not repaired over the next three years.
Speaking to reporters today, Councillor Hill said councillors and MPs had made a “very strong case” to government.
“There were no decisions made, but obviously the case was heard and the minister agreed to take it away, look at it and make the case to government.”
Asked what it would mean if funding didn’t reappear, he said: “I think we should get it but there will be some difficult decisions. The roads will deteriorate, there’s no question about that.”
He said potholes and roads were the number one issue for residents and the council was “determined” to keep up repairs.
The council put in £10 million of its own money this year and has tried to do more on minor roads, however, there will be a priority for main roads.
Economy portfolio holder Councillor Colin Davie recently said the authority’s capital projects faced rising costs of materials and staffing.
Councillor Hill agreed, but added: “The other big issue is inflation, contract inflation, and high wages included in that, because you get less and less for your money – so to lose £12 million on top of that is a bit of a double whammy.”
The latest comments come as Lincolnshire County Council calls on residents to write to their MP and share stories of potholes on the roads they use, which can be done at www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/highwaysfunding.
The site includes videos and more information on the council’s campaign, along with a template letter to send to MPs.
In a separate statement, Councillor Richard Davies said: “It’s essential that we hear from residents about the state of our county’s road network. Every single voice and every pothole story will play a role in telling government how serious this issue is to all of us.
“Lincolnshire people who have to use crumbling roads on a daily basis are being punished by this underfunding from the Department for Transport, so we need every resident who’s had enough to help us with our new ‘Fix Our Funds To Fix Our Roads’ funding campaign.
“People power really matters and hearing from Lincolnshire residents directly will add real strength to our campaign to fix our funds so we can fix our roads.