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North East councils to share £11.8m road budget funding

THE North East has been handed an £11.8m road budget boost by the Government.

Pothole repairs on the B6309 near Whittonstall

THE North East has been handed an £11.8m road budget boost by the Government.

Twelve regional councils from Northumberland to Teesside will share the pot announced by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

Northumberland has won the biggest slice – £3.9m – while Durham will receive £2.8m.

Newcastle will get £633,000, North Tyneside £502,000 and South Tyneside £354,000, while Sunderland will be given the third-largest sum, £804,000.

Northumberland and Durham County Councils receive the greater allocation because of the larger areas covered by their road networks.

Hexham Conservative MP Guy Opperman yesterday welcomed the allocation – but warned county chiefs that west Northumberland must get “a fair share” of the extra funding.

Mr Opperman said: “We have been lobbying hard for extra funding for Northumberland.

He said: “Our roads are in crisis at the moment. The number of potholes in my part of Northumberland is becoming dangerous.

“This extra money should help the county council get the best out of the road networks.”

Mr Opperman urged highways chiefs “not to spend it all in the south east of the county” and added: “A fair share of this extra funding must come to us here in west Northumberland.

“I will be keeping a close watch on where this additional funding has been spent.”

The extra money is part of a £333m all-roads fund, including motorways and trunk roads, announced in Chancellor George Osborne’s autumn statement on December 5.

Of £215m of additional capital funding for local road maintenance, £140m will come in 2013-14,and the remaining £75m in 2014-15.

It is for essential maintenance to renew, repair and extend the life of roads in England.

Announcing the allocations, Mr McLoughlin said: “This extra money will support economic growth and development by helping local authorities to get the best out of their local road networks. This funding can be spent on measures to bring smoother, safer and more reliable journeys to the travelling public whether they are commuting to work or taking the children to school.” Coun Alan Thompson, executive member for highways at Northumberland County Council, said: “This additional funding is very welcome news for Northumberland residents.

“The county received the highest allocation of any council in the North East and our highways team deserves every credit for the work it has done with the Government to achieve support to maintain roads and bridges and repair damage to our infrastructure.

“We will be using the funding right across Northumberland, enabling us to accelerate planned maintenance on assets that are most in need of work. It will go a long way in supporting the process of continuous improvement that has taken place within the county over the last four years.”



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