MP calls for more money for road repairs
By James HoreAN MP has called on the Government to put more money into funding improvements to the roads of Essex.Bernard Jenkin, the Conservative MP for North Essex, said new research had highlighted a “growing crisis” in the roads in the county and across the country.
By James Hore
AN MP has called on the Government to put more money into funding improvements to the roads of Essex.
Bernard Jenkin, the Conservative MP for North Essex, said new research had highlighted a “growing crisis” in the roads in the county and across the country.
The Government has already announced a £3.6million research package that would help target potholes on minor roads.
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The money will be used to fund a new research programme to adapt a specialised device, currently used by the Highways Agency to measure road conditions on motorways and trunk roads, for use by local authorities on smaller roads.
But Mr Jenkin said the device “sounded like a gimmick” and felt what was needed was better road surfaces.
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His comments followed a report by the Institute of Civil Engineers, which showed 72% of local authorities had reported a deterioration over the past year in local roads, footpaths and cycleways.
It also stated local authorities were not spending their full budget allocation because of increasing demands for expenditure in other sectors.
Mr Jenkin said: “We already know from soaring Council Tax bills that local services are being squeezed.
“Our schools and social services are suffering a crisis in funding and it is only natural that Essex County Council wishes to protect these frontline services.
“Taxes are going through the roof, but we are not seeing the improvements in public services that we all deserve. It's time for a fair deal for everyone.”
Rodney Bass, transport portfolio holder for Essex County Council, said it had to manage the highways budget as its third or fourth priority as the Government insisted the money went to education and social services first.
“It is damned difficult and Mr Jenkin is quite right, a greater priority needs to be given to the roads, especially the rural road network. It is full of pot-holes,” he added.