Corporate, HP, Improving our roads

Roads could get extra government cash thanks to efficiency drive

Surrey County Council is hopeful it could be in line for extra road repair cash as a government reward for giving taxpayers value for money.

From next year, councils that prove they spend highways funding efficiently are set to get a bigger share of the country’s £200 million annual roads maintenance budget under plans recently launched by the Department for Transport (DfT).

Surrey County Council hopes it will benefit from this extra money, as it was highlighted as one of two good examples of an efficient roads authority when the DfT announced the proposals earlier this year.

The DfT report highlighted the county council’s renegotiation of its contracts with suppliers that led to £16 million in efficiency savings, better delivery and 10-year guarantees when roads are completely overhauled from scratch.

Surrey County Council and other efficient highways authorities will find out later this year about any extra funding they may get over and above their basic maintenance budgets after a DfT consultation closes.

Earlier this month, the county council announced it would ‘pause’ non-urgent highway works to instead focus on tackling flood-affected roads. Even before February’s devastating floods, the county council’s roads had already suffered at least £12.5 million worth of flood damage over Christmas and the New Year, and this figure is expected to rise significantly when final costs are in.

John Furey, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, said: “Although it means a lot to us that the Department for Transport says we’re efficient, it would mean even more to get extra funding as a result, because we have a minimum £12.5 million flooded roads repair bill on top of our normal budget pressures.

“We hope that being singled out by the DfT indicates we could be in line for extra funding, allowing us to improve roads even more for our taxpayers.”

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