Don't miss a story sign up to Sidmouth Herald's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

PM asked to discuss Devon’s road issues

11:14 15 January 2014


Devon County Council has invited the Prime Minister to come and see the impact the weather has had on the county’s road network.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, the County Council Cabinet Member for Highway Management and Flood Prevention, has written to David Cameron to ask for the opportunity to discuss concerns over road maintenance with Ministers and Government officials.

The authority is asking Mr Cameron to visit to consider the difficulties Devon is currently facing with an estimated £750 million backlog to bring all of its road network up to a good standard.

It would also be an opportunity to explain the steps being taken by the County Council to drive efficiencies in the way it is working and in commissioning its highway maintenance service.

In his letter to the PM, Cllr Hughes said: “Continued Central Government cuts in funding for highway maintenance are a major long-standing problem in Devon. The previous Government pursued a policy that unfairly favoured urban areas and we have never recovered from that. We are unable to stop the continued deterioration of the highway network and we see a massive backlog building up for the future.

“Whilst we were fortunate to receive around £3 million of Bellwin funding from the Government last year, this only went part way towards addressing the County Council’s actual bill of £18 million for damage to its highways. Bellwin cannot be used to fund permanent repairs, which are the big ticket items facing Councils after major storm damage. This and the extremely high threshold mean that Bellwin is increasingly unfit for purpose when transport networks are impacted by the effects of climate change.

“In contrast, the Winter Damage Grant we received from Government in 2010 and 2011 after consecutive severe winters had a much more positive effect in tackling the deterioration of the network and it would be helpful if there was a similar response from Government in the light of the current conditions and the impacts of last winter.”

Councillor Hughes also commented that Devon is still recovering from the flooding of 2012 and early 2013. Research undertaken by the Heart of the South West LEP and South West Peninsula local authorities into the impact of the floods estimates that the cost to the public purse, local economy and transport exceeds £140 million, and that is before the latest storms are taken into account.

“In Devon we have well established plans for managing such events and there is excellent co-ordination between the County Council, the Environment Agency, District Councils and other authorities,” he added. “During the Christmas storm events the authorities worked in close collaboration to predict, monitor and respond to events and provide the best possible support to communities and individuals. We are now working hard to repair the damage caused by the storms.

“The damage to Devon’s highways network, the largest in England, is a particular concern for the local economy and resilience of our communities. The immediate clear up and cleaning work is only part of the challenge, and with high water tables, a saturated highway network, and predicted freezing conditions to come, the impact on the safety and condition of our highways could be massive.”


Other News Stories

Sally Neal has become Sidmouth's first female Crew Manager. Ref shs 7512-48-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

A firefighter has made history after becoming the first woman in Sidmouth to reach the rank of crew manager.

Read more
Yesterday, 19:30
Plans have been lodged for Hillside House

A former hotel and restaurant in Newton Poppleford could be converted into a 13-bed care home.

Read more
Yesterday, 14:30

A temporary tariff of £2 per day will be introduced at Sidmouth’s town centre car parks next week.

Read more
Wed, 18:30
Natasha Koshti.

The Budleigh Salterton Committee for Cancer Research UK is holding an Evening In India on Saturday, November 28, at 7pm in the Public Hall.

Read more
Wed, 17:41
The dip in Temple Street, Sidmouth. Ref shs 7614-48-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Devon County Council has announced drainage works will take place along Temple Street for five weeks from Monday, January 18.

Read more
Wed, 17:28
Cranbrook Railway Station. Ref mhc 3523-37-15TI. Picture: Terry Ife

AFTER many postponements, Cranbrook railway station will finally open on Sunday, December 13.

Read more
Wed, 16:12
Police are appealing for help in finding the culprit responsible for recent graffiti tags

One man has been questioned in connection with a recent bout of vandalism and officers are asking for more information or witnesses

Read more
Wed, 12:29
DCC's proposed cycling and walking route between Sidbury and Sidford

County Hall chiefs will soon be submitting plans for a long-awaited walking and cycling trail between Sidbury and Sidford.

Read more
Sainsbury's apologised after new signs were erected wrongly stating its car park is for customer use only

Sainsbury’s confirmed car park is open to everyone and blamed error in wording for misleading notices

Read more
Tue, 19:12
Simon Harris (pictured with his son Noah) has launched a campaign to raise funds for defibrillators in Ottery

‘It’s a no-brainer’ - stark statistics prompt pair to take the initiative and start fundraising bid

Read more

Local Weather



max temp: 12°C

min temp: 8°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

Find a job in Sidmouth

Find planning applications