Lincolnshire County Council leader Martin Hill has said a campaign hoping to reclaim more than £12 million in lost highways funding is “not looking particularly hopeful”.
Conservative Councillor Hill was asked for an update on the authority’s “Fix Our Funds To Fix Our Roads” campaign during the Overview and Scrutiny Management Board meeting on Thursday.
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.
The leader told members they council was still waiting for news of the funding settlement from the Department for Transport.
However, he added: “I have to say, I don’t think at the moment, from correspondence received back from our MPs who are lobbying on this matter… at the moment it’s not looking particularly hopeful.”
“What we have established is that the treasury and government are quite clear that, in their opinion, they’ve given a good settlement to the Department for Transport So I think we’ve established this issue remains within the priorities that are set within the Department of Transport.”
He said the councillors and MPs would continue to lobby the government.
He also looked to reassure members it was still a one-year settlement, but added the council “have a fair indication of where we’ll end up in the next two years”.
“All I can say in terms of advising the overview scrutiny committee is that we will have to address this issue if we haven’t had a positive response by the executive next month and come up with some proposals which can be debated as to what we do about it.”
Councillors have previously warned of some difficult decisions ahead if the funding is not increased again.
The council put in £10 million of its own money last year and has tried to do more on minor roads, however, there will be a priority for main roads.
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.