Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We're All in for a Very Bumpy Ride; Cash Cuts Mean Potholes Go Untreated

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

We're All in for a Very Bumpy Ride; Cash Cuts Mean Potholes Go Untreated

Article excerpt

Byline: Adrian Pearson

THOUSANDS of potholes will be left untreated as the Government plans secret transport spending cuts.

Councils across the region have been warned they will see their maintenance budgets slashed by as much as 50% in the coming years.

Behind the scenes, officers have been called to meet Government representatives and told to plan for severe funding cuts not seen in over a decade.

Across the North East more than pounds 30m could be wiped off transport spending.

It raises the prospect of roads and pavements across the region going unfixed as a potholes backlog grows. Any reduction in maintenance would also open the way for increased council compensation payouts as motorists take legal action for damaged vehicles.

In Newcastle council officers have been given informal notification that funding is likely to be cut. And in North Tyneside officers say they were told explicitly by Government Office that their money would be reduced by "30-50%".

Members of the former regional transport board were also told of cuts coming from the Department for Transport at their last meeting.

A new council and business board set up to deal with major regional transport issues has been told to "consider scenarios of 20, 30 and 40%" by the DfT.

They may now have to prepare a list of cuts to road projects across the North East.

In North Tyneside elected mayor Linda Arkley is facing cuts worth more up to pounds 2m a year from the council's Local Transport Plan. "It is extremely concerning to hear that these reductions are coming, because they will have a huge impact on the quality of our roads."

At a recent cabinet meeting Ms Arkley was told by officers that to bring all the roads in North Tyneside up to the ideal standards would cost her authority pounds 10m a year for 10 years. …

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