Roads cash boost welcomed

A MAJOR cash injection for Northumberland’s road network has been welcomed.

The county council is set to receive an extra £3.9million in Government funding to maintain the surfaces and support its programme of pre-emptive preparation works in order to reduce the risks of flooding and protect vulnerable road sections in extreme winter conditions.

The additional investment is part of a £333million pot for road maintenance which was announced in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. Details of how the money will be allocated to local authorities have now been published, with North East local authorities set to receive almost £12 million in total.

Coun Alan Thompson, executive member for highways at Northumberland County Council, said: “I am pleased that the Government is trusting local authorities to know where this extra investment in our road network can be best targeted.

“We have a good highways team here in Northumberland and they will be able to do a lot of good for road users with another £3.9million.

“After the disappointing lack of action we’ve seen on dualling the A1 through Northumberland in the Autumn Statement, this money is a useful consolation prize from the Chancellor and will go a long way towards helping to keep our road network up to scratch.”

In order to receive the extra funding, local authorities must publish on their websites details of how the money has been spent at the end of each financial year.

It can also be used for tasks such as bridge maintenance works.

MP for Hexham Guy Opperman, whose constituency includes Ponteland, Stannington and Whalton, said: “We have been lobbying hard for extra funding for Northumberland. Our roads are in crisis at the moment – the number of potholes in my part of Northumberland is becoming dangerous.

“This extra money should help the county council to get the best out of the road networks.”

Mr Opperman has also urged council bosses not to spend most of it in the south east of the county. He added: “I will be keeping a close watch on where the authority actually spends this money.”