Essex

Essex County Council promises £4m crackdown on potholes

Pothole in Writtle Road in Chelmsford
Image caption Essex County Council is promising to restore the roads to their pre-winter state

Roads blighted by potholes will be restored to the condition they were in before the recent winter weather, Essex County Council has pledged.

Last week, the Conservative-run authority announced it plans to spend £4m from its 2011/12 budget on repairing the county's damaged roads.

It said 250 potholes on its network were being filled each day.

"We expect to have enough money to make good the roads," said Essex county councillor Roger Walters.

The money set aside for road maintenance comes despite the council making £98m budget savings.

"Despite the financial pressures the county has got, we are maintaining our budget for repairs and keeping the roads up to standard," said Mr Walters, deputy cabinet member for highways and transportation.

During the last financial year (2010/11) the council spent a total of £45.5m on highways and transportation.

Image caption The BBC is looking at the state of the roads across Essex and the UK

In the past three years Essex County Council has spent more than £200,000 on compensating drivers for damage caused to their cars by such hazards.

Last week, the government said it would put aside £100m for councils to bid for if they felt they had been badly hit by potholes.

Prior to this announcement, Thurrock Council had indicated it may struggle to have enough money to deal with road repairs.

Its estimated budget for highways maintenance in 2011-12 is £2.8m, although this will not be approved by the council until Tuesday 1 March.

The Labour-led unitary authority said: "Due to competing priorities in the current financial climate and resources not being sufficient to achieve everything we would like to do, additional funding would be preferred."

In Southend, the Conservative-run borough council believed their current resource level of £316,000 falls short of the amount it needs to maintain the roads.

"Based on the past trends and the current impact of the adverse weather, coupled with the ongoing deterioration of the highway infrastructure, the current resource level is not going to be sufficient to meet next year's needs to maintain public safety on the highway network," a council spokesperson said.

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