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BVRLA shows concern at new road funding plans

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The BVRLA has welcomed extended funding timelines for local road improvements, but expressed concern at the proposed levels and system for awarding funding for local road maintenance and repairs.

The Local Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund will allow Councils and local highway authorities (outside of London) across England to apply for funding to carry out major maintenance projects that are otherwise difficult to fund through the normal needs element allocations they receive.
“The setting out of funding amounts over the next six years (including the next Parliament and beyond) will provide long-term certainty to local highway authorities in setting budgets for the maintenance and repair of local roads, and this is something to be welcomed,” said Jay Parmar, director of policy and membership at the BVRLA. 
“However, we are concerned that with a total flat figure of £976 million being allocated every year from next financial year through to 2020/21, this amounts to a real-terms cut in funding for local roads, after inflation is taken into account. This is at a time where funding for local roads has steadily decreased since 2010. 
“We also have concerns regarding the new funding model. While greater emphasis on authorities looking for long-term solutions to road repairs is to be welcomed, we note that the annual amount allocated under the ‘needs’ formula – the figure provided to authorities for road maintenance and repair before incentives and additional applications are taken into account – will face a total eventual reduction of almost 20%.
“With this reduced figure and the remaining funds being open to a competition-based approach, there will clearly be winners and losers among the local highways authorities. This presents the possibility of some local authorities facing an even greater cut in the annual funds received for local road maintenance.
“We fear that this could jeopardise the management of local roads in certain areas. This could be of great concern to our members in those areas whose businesses depend heavily on good road networks”.

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