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

Archant

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.”

0 comments

Other News Stories

16:59
Dropped kerb could soon be installed opposite Abbeyfield Court in Sidmouth

Appeal from residents to assist people with mobility problems has been listened to

Read more
16:30
The Sid Valley Neighbourhood Plan logo

The protection of the Sid Valley’s natural beauty is among residents’ top concerns, a major questionnaire has revealed.

Read more
Hot Pennies is a traditional part of Sidbury Fair week. Ref shs 0906-38-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Organisers of Sidbury Fair Week are looking forward to another packed programme to bring the community together.

Read more
Mark Wakely is counting on your votes.

Public support has sent a Sidmouth plumber into the final of a national competition.

Read more
12:33

Criminals attempted to break into an empty property in Sidmouth.

Read more
10:35
Nathan Riley.

A little boy was left with five stitches in his leg after cutting himself on a broken, abandoned, disposable barbecue on Sidmouth beach.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:30

Vandals threw a bench, a sign, large logs and a red bike into the River Sid over the weekend.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:16
The Tour of Britain stage start on Sidmouth seafront in 2013. Bradley Wiggins is pictured centre in the yellow jersey. Photo by Simon Horn. Ref shs 9563-38-13SH

‘The race has just gone up another notch in the thrill stakes’

Read more
Yesterday, 12:30
Former England cricket captain Andrew Strauss presenting Dom Bess with his cap

CREDIT: @englandcricket

The Sri Lankan under-19s captain was caught out by a Sidford teenager making his international cricket debut last week.

Read more

Local Weather

Rain

Rain

max temp: 22°C

min temp: 17°C

Most Read News

Useful Links

Family notices
Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Submit a Story
Buy Photos
Competitions
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the Sidmouth Herald e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Local business directory

Devon's trusted business finder

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists


Find planning applications