Funds cut for Derbyshire winter road repairs

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Transport officials said they faced 'difficult decisions'

Road safety will remain a priority in Derbyshire despite cuts to maintenance budgets, officials have said.

Responding to the BBC's The Road Ahead project, the county council said repair funds had been cut by £1m to £15m next year as part of wider savings.

While insisting faults would be treated, it said investment would have to focus on major roads.

The city council said its current £2.2m roads maintenance budget was being cut to £1.58m for 2011/12.

The county council said it was currently inspecting 3,170 miles (5,102 km) of roads to prioritise its work.

"Times are tough and we've had to make some difficult decisions," said Derbyshire County Council's cabinet member for highways and transport Chris Jackson.

"The last thing we want to do is to cut services and jobs, but we have no choice.

"The council has to reduce its spending by £90m over the next four years, which means we have less to spend on mending roads and street lights and on public transport.

"But we'll do all we can to direct services where they're needed most. And we still have £15m to tackle potholes, safety schemes and road repairs."

It also said it had done more than just patching holes, having resurfaced the A57 Snake Pass in October, one of the roads most regularly affected by snow in England.

Mr Jackson added: "Our priority is road safety. Wherever there is damage that could pose a danger we will make it our priority, wherever it is on our road network.

"When looking at our ongoing investment to improve the road network we prioritise principal roads as they are the most well-used and essential to motorists. However, we recognise this can create an imbalance when it comes to improving rural roads so we work to address that, where possible."

Derby City Council is responsible for about 448 miles (722km) of adopted roads, pavements, verges and cycleways.

It said a backlog of 4,000 potholes had been cleared before the harsh weather and a survey of any new damage was under way.

Both councils said it was unclear how much money they would receive from the government's £100m road repair fund.

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