Chancellor's £420m pothole pledge not enough to fix Northamptonshire's roads, says Mr Pothole

Mark Morrell, aka Mr Pothole
Mark Morrell, aka Mr Pothole

A pothole campaigner says the amount earmarked by the Chancellor to tackle potholes in the UK wouldn't be enough to fix Northamptonshire's roads.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announces his budget today and will pledge £420 million to councils for pothole repairs and £150 million for road junctions and local roads.

But that amount is too small to cover the costs, says Mark Morrell - aka Mr Pothole - particularly because of the existing backlog councils have on their books.

"Considering that Northamptonshire County Council has a backlog of hundreds of millions that’s not going to be enough," said Mr Morrell.

"If you look at Kent, for example, they have got a £630 million backlog and they have slightly more roads than Northamptonshire."

"It's peeing in the ocean."

Even the money put towards junctions and local roads won’t be enough, said Mr Morrell, citing the example of the A43/A422 roundabout in Brackley.

He said improvements to that junction were in the region of £2.5 million and therefore £150 million divided up between councils is unlikely to cover repair and improvement costs.

Rather than handing councils occasional large sums in order to "pay lip service" to voters, Mr Morrell would prefer a root and branch approach, which would see workers trained in pothole fixing to avoid poor repair work.

He says investing money in a long-term strategy, rather than a short-term like the money allocated in today’s budget, is a better approach to solving the “massive problem” of potholes in the UK.

“It’s losing the economy billions of pounds but that doesn’t show up on their balance sheet because the taxpayers are the ones paying for it," said Mr Morrell.

It is not yet known how much of the £420 million the county council will receive from Government.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “We are waiting for the detail of the budget announcement to see how much money will be made available for Highways.

“On average in any one year, the county council can receive around 47,000 reported defects.

“Permanent repairs are undertaken wherever possible to avoid the need for return visits.

“Intervention levels for potholes depend on whether the pothole is in the carriageway or footway and the classification or usage of that carriageway or footway.”