Lincolnshire County Council welcomed the £10 million government funding boost for highways maintenance over the next two years, but explained that it falls short of covering the significant £12 million annual cut to their roads budget.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper announced an £8.3 billion national plan aimed at improving road conditions across the country. Some of this funding has been redirected from the scrapped second leg of the HS2 project. Lincolnshire's share of this funding amounts to £9,848,000 over two years.
Mark Harper said: "Most people travel by road, and potholes can cause misery for motorists, from expensive vehicle repairs to bumpy, slow, and dangerous journeys.
"This biggest ever funding uplift for local road improvements is a victory for all road users, who will enjoy smoother, faster, and safer trips — as we use redirected HS2 funding to make the right long-term decisions for a brighter future.”
County Councillor Richard Davies, Executive member for Highways, said: "It will clearly be a much-needed benefit in our continuing battle to keep the 5,500-mile-long Lincolnshire road network usable," he stated.
"With that in mind, it's worth noting that as the local highways authority, we are still waiting for a reinstatement of the 25% (£12.3 million) cut to our annual road budget," Davies added.
Simon Williams, RAC head of policy, commented: “Drivers’ biggest bugbear of all is the poor condition of local roads, so the fact the government has found a significant additional pot of revenue should give councils the certainty of funding they need to plan proper long-term road maintenance, something we have been calling for many years," he said.
"We hope local authorities will use the money in the most effective way possible by resurfacing the very worst roads, keeping those in reasonable condition in better states for longer through surface dressing, and filling potholes as permanently as possible wherever necessary."
Despite this, the enduring reduction in Lincolnshire's road budget casts a shadow over the council's ability to fully address road maintenance needs.
As the council navigates this mixed financial landscape, the restoration of the £12 million in cuts remains a pressing issue.
Cllr Darren Rodwell, transport spokesperson for the Local Government Association, said the funding would provide some clarity for councils on short-term expectations, but called for more long-term investments.
“Councils want to invest in cost-effective and resilient resurfacing, rather than retrospectively dealing with potholes, and this funding is a significant boost towards improving more of the 186,000 miles of England’s local roads," Rodwell stated.
"The LGA has consistently called for longer-term funding to tackle our estimated £14 billion local roads repair backlog.
"This latest announcement will provide some much-needed clarity for councils on what they can expect to receive in the short term, so they can plan ahead and reinstate repairs that had been impacted by inflation."