Suffolk: Transport chief defends state of county’s roads

SUFFOLK: On the day that Labour warned councils were facing a �5billion bill to repair potholes, the councillor responsible for the county’s roads insisted ours were in good shape.

Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for transport and planning, said the county had been able to spend more on repairing roads after the last two harsh winters and this was now paying off. He was speaking after Labour’s shadow roads minister John Woodcock published a survey showing that 40 per cent of councils had a backlog totalling �5.36bn, while 92pc of the 111 which responded to the questionnaire didn’t currently have the money to fix the roads in their area.

The survey found 17 local authorities reported individual backlogs of more than �100million, with three county councils – North Yorkshire, Kent and Devon – having backlogs in excess of �400m.

Mr Woodcock said: “Potholes frustrate road users more than anything and it’s clear that the Tory-led government has no serious long-term plan to get our roads back into shape.

“These new figures reveal the worsening state of England’s roads as a result of the government’s cuts.”

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But Mr McGregor said that extra cash made available in the wake of the last two winters had paid dividends.

He said: “We have been able to get on with patching which has repaired the roads and now we are able to undertake a programme of surface dressing.

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“I know a lot of people think there is no point in surface dressing but it is very effective at sealing the road surface so frost cannot get in making a skid-proof surface.”

In March the government gave the county council a �4.4m grant to help repair roads which had been hit by bad weather – and teams have been working since then to patch up or carry out more permanent repairs.

Mr McGregor said that Suffolk had regarded maintaining its roads as a high priority: “It is vital for a county like Suffolk to have roads that are in good condition and that is what we have tried to do despite the harsh weather over the last two winters.”

n Are Suffolk’s roads good enough? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

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