Scottish Government announces extra £10m for road maintenance following cold snap

Scottish motorists are set to benefit from an extra £10m of funding that has been set aside by ministers in a bid to fix the roads following the blast of freezing weather to hit the country this year.

Finance secretary Derek Mackay announced the cash injection today which should allow all 32 councils to make repairs and cover the cost of roads maintenance after Scotland suffered from extended wintry weather. Details of the distribution is to be agreed with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

Announcing the funding, Mackay said: “Scotland experienced unprecedented levels of extreme weather in recent months, culminating in the issuing of our first-ever Red Alert for snow by the Met Office in late February. We have agreed a local government finance settlement of £10.7bn, which will provide a real terms boost in both revenue and capital spending to support local services, including winter maintenance.”

COSLA’s resources spokeswoman Gail Macgregor said: “During the severe weather Scotland experienced in February and March, local authorities worked tirelessly to ensure their communities were safe – clearing roads and pavements and making sure essential services reached our most vulnerable throughout. While councils budget for the impacts of winter weather, the ‘Beast from the East’ was unexpected and led to a significant financial strain. We are pleased that the Scottish Government have recognised the impact on councils with this additional funding, however the financial toll will continue to be felt for some time.”

Just last month, the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey revealed one in five roads in England and Wales have less than five years’ life remaining as cash-strapped local authorities continue to face huge funding shortfalls to repair roads in terrible condition.

Another report conducted by BBC’s Shared Data Unit found that around 30% of A-roads in Scotland between 2015 and 2017 were classed as red or amber, meaning they were either earmarked for inspection or definitely required work, while on B-roads, the figure rose to 35%. 

Scotland’s finance secretary believes the extra funding will extend the life span of the country’s road network. “The severe weather led to local authorities incurring unexpected additional costs to their maintenance budgets, and simultaneously caused more damage to Scotland’s road network,” said Mackay. “By assisting councils to keep our road networks safe and efficient, we’re not only improving conditions for road users, we’re also extending the life span of that network, benefiting the wider economy, he said.”

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