Lancashire to get over £10m of government cash to pour into potholes

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Lancashire is to receive the North West’s second-largest share of the road repair money announced in the budget last month.

The county council area will be given £10.2m, with the standalone authorities in Blackpool and Blackburn in line for £532,000 and £855,000 respectively. Cumbria tops the allocation list with a £12m grant.

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County Hall says it is waiting for advice from the government about whether the money is to be reserved for any particular purpose or type of road.

"We know it will be on top of our basic annual allocation, and should put us in a good position to maintain our current high levels of investment into next year,” County Cllr Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways, said.

“We put an extra £5m into the budget for road maintenance this year, on top of the allocation received from government, which has allowed our highways teams to put the roads back into better condition following the particularly harsh winter,” he added.

The chancellor Philip Hammond announced a £420m package for pothole repairs in the budget a fortnight ago.

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Lancashire County Council’s road network saw improvements across all classifications of road between 2016/17 and 2017/18, according to a recent analysis of their condition.

However, more than a fifth of the region’s A and B routes are ranked as poor, putting the overall classified network in the second to last category of “acceptable” on a list of five possible rankings.

Highways officers have to carry out a self-assessment of the roads in the county in order for Lancashire to qualify for its share of an existing £578m pot of money from the Department for Transport.

The so-called incentive fund - which has been running since 2015 and will continue until 2020 - is designed to reward those authorities deemed to be offering good value for money in maintaining the condition of their roads.

Lancashire County Council’s most recent self-assessment, in January, placed it in the top band, meaning it will receive its full allocation from the fund for the second consecutive year. The rating is based on a series of almost two dozen questions, the answers to which are verified by the authority’s chief executive to ensure that there is the evidence to support them.

In 2017/18, county hall received almost £2m from the incentive scheme.