Coun Richard Davies

Councils’ plea to central government over transport funding as authority says 660 miles of roads in Lincolnshire are ‘poor or very poor’

Local councils are calling on central government to give Lincolnshire more funding.

Lincolnshire County Council had its funding on roads cut by £12m last year and it’s calling for it back.

The authority made up the loss from its own reserves, but says it won’t be doing so again.

And it follows the South and East Lincolnshire Lincolnshire Partnership which includes South Holland District Council for more funding.

In the 2019/20 financial year, Lincolnshire was allocated £51m maintenance funding. This was cut down to just under £39m for 2021/22.

As the Department for Transport begins looking at funding allocations for 2022/23, Lincolnshire County Council is now calling on the government to reinstate the 25% cut.

Coun Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said: “It was incredibly disappointing when the government cut our highways funding by 25% this past February. We’re a large rural county and our residents place a huge amount of importance on well-maintained roads – something we’re doing our best to deliver but are struggling to fund.

“In fact, the Treasury’s own figures have consistently shown the East Midlands to be lowest funded region per head for transport in the UK. And if we were receiving the same level of funding as the UK average, we and our neighbouring counties would have an extra £1 billion to spend on transport every year.

“We need fairer funding for the residents and drivers of the East Midlands and Lincolnshire. We cannot continue to be overlooked.

 “Although we were able to offset this year’s highways cut by using funds from our own reserves, we won’t be able to allocate that money in the future.

“That’s why it’s essential that government reinstates this £12m – at the very least. This is the amount we need just to keep our roads at the level they are, let alone bring them to where they should be.”

Coun Richard Davies added: “If things keep going the way they are, we could see a huge jump in unplanned roadworks, lessened safety because of potholes and other preventable issues and a big drop in the overall resilience of our road network. And that’s not to mention a loss of local young people interested in getting into the construction or engineering industries thanks to the negativity people rightfully have for our roads.

“On the other hand, an increase above the £12m reinstatement we’re asking for would mean less congestion on our roads, less damage to vehicles, a more thriving economy and an increase in people’s general health and well-being.

“Our ultimate goal is to get our roads in the best shape possible and keep them that way, but we can’t do that when a large part of our time and budget is spent reacting instead of preventing.

“As it stands now, 12% – or 660 miles – of Lincolnshire’s roads are in poor or very poor condition. However, if government doesn’t reinstate the £12m cut earlier this year, those percentages would all increase over the years.

“We simply can’t sit back and wait for that to happen.”

The councils partnership has called for ‘major investment’ in the A16 and A17 despite £20m of funding being allocated to improve junctions in the area in October.

It’s also requesting “measures to address congestion, noise, and air pollution to preserve the area’s natural environment”, investments in public transport and green transport infrastructure as well as upgrades to rail connectivity.

Coun Gary Porter, leader of South Holland District Council, said: “The national significance of our area often gets overlooked, and our transport links are big contributor towards that.

“Supporting our partners to secure investment in our local transport network is vital to ensuring that we can make the most of our strengths – such as our prominent role in food production – and making sure that South and East Lincolnshire, and the entire county, gets the recognition it deserves at a national level.”

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