Fears over road budget cuts
CONCERN has been voiced about huge cuts to Suffolk's road maintenance budget - as the county council admitted repairs are now being made to a “lesser standard.
CONCERN has been voiced about huge cuts to Suffolk's road maintenance budget - as the county council admitted repairs are now being made to a “lesser standard.”
A report to go before the council's roads and transport scrutiny committee this week reveals that the authority is bidding to save £735,000 on the budget in the current financial year.
It admits the cuts have been targeted at rural roads, and that repairs to potholes and edge defects are taking longer to carry out.
The report also warns that the approach “can only be sustained for a short period” as the roads will ultimately deteriorate faster.
But while concern was raised at the council's plans, strong criticism was also aimed at the Government's funding of transport in Suffolk.
The news comes as the county has endured a spate of fatal crashes over the last couple of weeks - 34 people have been killed on Suffolk's roads so far this year - and Suffolk Police Authority have launched an investigation into the issue.
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David Ruffley, Conservative MP for Bury St Edmunds, said: “The resources for Suffolk roads have been decimated over the last five years because London ministers frankly aren't interested in rural road safety.”
Dr Wil Gibson, chief executive of rural charity Suffolk Acre, also spoke of his concern about the county's transport funding from central Government.
He added: “Anything that might encourage less than helpful behaviour by road users is not welcome at all.
“If you have a pothole that you have to swerve around suddenly then you're more likely to have an accident - if those potholes are not repaired as quickly, then obviously it's more dangerous.”
Responding to the criticism, a Department for Transport (DfT) spokeswoman said: “Suffolk's highways capital maintenance funding from the DfT has increased from over £15 million last year, to over £16m this year. This represents an increase of nearly five per cent.”