County’s road repairs ‘are not breaking bank’: council

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Northamptonshire County Council says it can maintain the road network to an “adequate standard”, in the wake of a Government watchdog’s report which says reduced funding risks worsening the quality of the highways.

A 28 per cent real-term drop in grants from the Department for Transport (DfT) to local authorities in the period up to 2014-15 will lead to poorer road and higher long-term costs, a report released by the National Audit Office (NAO) today has claimed.

But the county council says it now maintains roads through an initiative to keep them at an acceptable standard, rather than spending the “many millions of pounds” it would take to bring them up to a good standard.

The NAO report says: “Against the background of reduced and sometimes uncertain central government funding, the local authorities that we spoke to said that they are having to prioritise and reduce their expenditure on transport. Reduced overall funding for local authorities risks worsening highway quality.”

A county council spokesman said: “We are tackling our financial challenges through a new initiative that has changed the way we carry out maintenance works and ensures the service standards for road repairs are affordable.

“The strategy has helped the council keep roads to an adequate standard through clever use of the resources available.”