£8.3bn of HS2 funding redirected to "potholes"

A total of £8.3bn of redirected HS2 funding from the cancelled Northern leg of the high speed rail route will be redirected to create “smoother” and “safer” roads, the government has revealed today.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak claims the long term plan to mend roads across the country will save motorists up to £440 on vehicle repairs.

The government also claims this is the biggest ever uplift in funding for local road improvements, thanks to funding from the government’s £36bn Network North transport plan.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said the £8.3 billion long-term plan will be enough to resurface over 5,000 miles of road across the country over the next 11 years. 

Across England, local highway authorities will receive £150 million this financial year, followed by a further £150 million for 2024/2025, with the rest of the funding allocated through to 2034.

Each local authority can use its share of the £8.3 billion to identify what local roads are in most need of repair and deliver immediate improvements for communities and residents.

The funds are being divided as:

•£3.3 billion for local authorities in the North West, North East and Yorkshire and the Humber

•£2.2 billion for local authorities in the West Midlands and East Midlands

•£2.8 billion for local authorities in the East of England, South East, South West and, for the first time in 8 years, London.

Sunak, said: “For too long politicians have shied away from taking the right long-term decisions to make life easier for hardworking families – tackling the scourge of potholes being a prime example.

“Well-maintained road surfaces could save drivers up to £440 each in expensive vehicle repairs, helping motorists keep more of the cash in their pocket.

“This unprecedented £8.3 billion investment will pave the road for better and safer journeys for millions of people across the country and put an end to the blight of nuisance potholes.”

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, said the funding showed the government was “on the side of drivers”.

“Most people travel by road and potholes can cause misery for motorists, from expensive vehicle repairs to bumpy, slow and dangerous journeys,” he said.

“Today’s biggest-ever funding uplift for local road improvements is a victory for all road users, who will enjoy smoother, faster and safer trips – as we use redirected HS2 funding to make the right long-term decisions for a brighter future.”

Michelle Gardner, Deputy Policy Director at business group Logistics UK said any investment to improve the state of Britain’s roads is welcomed by logistics businesses, which have been severely impacted by the decline in the state of highways in recent years. 

“Our members currently face significant bills for repairs caused by pothole damage (on average, £575.74 for an HGV and £246.87 for a van) while the impact of taking vehicles off the roads for repair is interrupting the supply chain,” she said.

“Given the size of the roads repair backlog and that logistics businesses pay £5bn a year in Fuel Duty and Vehicle Excise Duty, the lack of urgency to implement plans is disappointing: our sector wants to see this new funding spent more quickly, to get our roads back into a good state, and more funding allocated after that. 

“We want to see sustainable, long-term funding for local authorities to address the pothole problem – rather than being dependent on political cycles.”

She added as well as funding transport maintenance, Logistics UK members also needed to see a “long-term transport investment plan for logistics that resolves the capacity constraints that will result from not building HS2 beyond Birmingham”.

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