Following this week’s report by the Public Accounts Committee calling for the Department for Transport to improve its planning and investment in Britain’s roads, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways, John Furey, said:
“The Public Accounts Committee is right to highlight the inadequacy of Whitehall funding for councils and the need to be efficient and avoid short-term fixes. Here in Surrey, we face Whitehall funding shortfalls of £60m for highways and £215m for school places demand over the next five years. Therefore, increasing efficiency is essential alongside adequate funding.
“From 2012 we decided to plan road repairs five years in advance as standard to improve the service for Surrey residents and continue to drive our £32bn economy. So far, we have identified £15m savings through better planning and contracts.
“In one year alone, our programme to make 300 miles of Surrey roads pothole-proof for 10 years has overhauled the equivalent distance from London to Southampton and saved £4m that will go back into repairs.
“However, it is continually getting harder for us to deliver the services our residents need as demand in areas like adult social care and school places rises dramatically and Whitehall falls short of what we need.”
Additional information: In 2012, Surrey County Council became the first local authority to trial the Government’s Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme strategic review.