County Councillor urges PM to come and see weather’s impact on Devon’s roads

11:33 15 January 2014

Prime Minister David Cameron attended last year

Prime Minister David Cameron attended last year's North Devon Show

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Cllr Stuart Hughes writes to invite David Cameron to visit the county

Devon County Council has invited the Prime Minister to come and see the impact the weather has had on the county’s road network.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, DCC cabinet member for Highway Management and Flood Prevention, has written to David Cameron to ask for the opportunity to discuss concerns over road maintenance with Ministers and Government officials, not least the estimated £750million backlog to bring the entire road network up to a good standard.

In his letter to the PM, Cllr Hughes said: “Continued Central Government cuts in funding for highway maintenance are a major long-standing problem in Devon.

“We are unable to stop the continued deterioration of the highway network and we see a massive backlog building up for the future.

“Whilst we were fortunate to receive around £3 million of Bellwin funding from the Government last year, this only went part way towards addressing the County Council’s actual bill of £18 million for damage to its highways.

“In contrast, the Winter Damage Grant we received from Government in 2010 and 2011 after consecutive severe winters had a much more positive effect in tackling the deterioration of the network and it would be helpful if there was a similar response from Government in the light of the current conditions and the impacts of last winter.”

Cllr Hughes also commented that Devon is still recovering from the flooding of 2012 and early 2013, which research suggests cost the public purse more than £140million.

“The damage to Devon’s highways network, the largest in England, is a particular concern for the local economy and resilience of our communities. The immediate clear up and cleaning work is only part of the challenge, and with high water tables, a saturated highway network, and predicted freezing conditions to come, the impact on the safety and condition of our highways could be massive.”

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