Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

County's Pothole Tally Standing at over 6,500

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

County's Pothole Tally Standing at over 6,500

Article excerpt

Byline: Brian Daniel Northumberland reporter brian.daniel@ncjmedia.co.uk

ANORTH council which last year said it had cleared its pothole problem now has over 6,500 to tackle, according to new figures.

Northumberland County Council's Labour leaders pledged early last year to clear the authority's backlog of potholes, and later claimed that it had achieved that task.

Figures provided by the authority now reveal that its current backlog stands at 6,600.

A council boss said Northumberland's massive road network had suffered from long-term under-investment and bad weather, but that it has invested heavily in tackling potholes.

He cited the county's topping of a poll for road satisfaction and welcomed the recent announcement of PS90m government funding to tackle road repairs.

An opposition councillor claimed the county has a "serious pothole problem" and that in spite of Labour's pledge last year, "much more needs to be done."

He also welcomed the funding announcement, claiming it followed lack of investment "over many years" from previous governments.

Council leader Grant Davey revealed last February how the authority was to spend PS600,000 to bring forward work repairing roads across the county, in order to eliminate potholes by June - three months earlier than scheduled.

The figure at the time stood at 12,500, down from 17,000 the previous month.

At the end of June, the council claimed it had cleared the backlog.

Around the same time, the Department for Transport announced an additional PS2.9m to tackle potholes in Northumberland, on the back of another PS2.7 million from the 'weather repair fund' which had been announced in March.

Last month, Northumberland was given a further PS91m by the government, towards roads maintenance for the six years to 2021, just over a third of the total to be spent in the North East.

Now, in response to a freedom of information request, the county council has put its current backlog at 6,600.

Ian Swithenbank, policy board member for streetcare and environment, said: "As with many local authorities, Northumberland County Council has seen its road network deteriorate over the past few years, mainly due to long-term underinvestment, exacerbated by a series of severe weather events. …

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