Kent and Medway are to receive a cash boost of almost £150 million to “tackle the scourge of potholes” and other road issues across the county.
Today, Transport Secretary Mark Harper has set out the allocations of an £8.3 billion national long-term plan to repair and resurface more than 5,000 miles of road across the country over the next 11 years.
Local highway authorities in the south east, including Kent, East and West Sussex, Surrey, and Hampshire, will each receive a share of £734 million, which they can use to identify what local roads are in most need of repair and deliver immediate improvements for communities and residents.
Kent will be given a total of £134,531,000 to spend on mending the county’s potholes and other road damage, and Medway will receive a £12,552,000 additional uplift between 2022/23 and 2033/34.
As a result, the Department for Transport says millions of people will enjoy smoother, safer, and faster road journeys.
Across the South East, local highway authorities will receive £23.4 million this financial year, followed by a further £23.4 million for 2024/2025, with the rest of the funding allocated through to 2034.
The Department for Transport has already confirmed £5.5 billion for 2020/21 to 2024/25 for England outside London, which includes the £200 million announced by the Chancellor at the Budget in March.
The government says today’s £8.3 billion nationwide boost comes on top of that and extends until 2034, providing long-term certainty to local authorities and helping to prevent potholes from coming back in the future.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “For too long politicians have shied away from taking the right long-term decisions to make life easier for hardworking families - tackling the scourge of potholes being a prime example.
“Well-maintained road surfaces could save drivers up to £440 each in expensive vehicle repairs, helping motorists keep more of the cash in their pocket.
“This unprecedented £8.3 billion investment will pave the road for better and safer journeys for millions of people across the country and put an end to the blight of nuisance potholes.”
The funding also comes on top of the local transport, road and rail budgets allocated at the last Spending Review and in addition to what local authorities were already expecting for the next decade.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper added: “Most people travel by road and potholes can cause misery for motorists, from expensive vehicle repairs to bumpy, slow, and dangerous journeys. Our £734 million boost to repair roads across the South East shows that we’re on the side of drivers.
“Today’s 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.”
According to the RAC, smoother, well-maintained road surfaces could save drivers up to £440 each in expensive vehicle repairs from pothole damage, helping motorists keep more of the cash in their pocket.
RAC head of policy Simon Williams said: “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.
“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.
“This should in time go a considerable way to bringing our roads back to a fit-for-purpose state and saving drivers hundreds of pounds in the process from not having to fork out for frustrating repairs to their vehicles.”
The measure is part of the Government’s Network North plan, with money redirected from HS2, instead going to “improve the daily transport connections that matter most to people”.
The South East is getting a share of a £6.5 billion package in Network North to boost local connectivity. Projects include £290 million to deliver 14 road schemes across the South East, including improvements at the A2 at Brenley Corner, a notorious bottleneck on the corridor to Dover.
To increase transparency and ensure the £8.3 billion leads to an increase in the number of roads being resurfaced, local authorities will be required to publish information on their websites on a regular basis explaining how they are spending the funding in their area.