New four-year settlement boost for Welsh highways

 

A Welsh Government minister has said he will encourage local authorities to use a new four-year capital settlement to improve highway maintenance methods.

Mark Drakeford, cabinet secretary for finance and local government, was responding in the Welsh Assembly to Plaid Cymru AM Rhun ap Iorwerth's criticism of road maintenance practices.

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Road surfacing works better in summer

Mr Drakeford said the point about highway maintenance was one reason the Government had announced (in its 2017-18 budget) the capital available for the ensuing four years.

Highlighting increased roadworks in the last months of the financial year, Mr ap Iorwerth said: ‘This isn’t the best way of ensuring the quality of the work or value for money… The surface lasts less time if done in cold weather, the working day is shorter [than in summer] and maintenance work all done at one time means that the capacity isn’t available, perhaps, among local companies to carry out that work.’

He asked what work the Government had undertaken, or was considering, on new models and funding structures which would spread road maintenance budgets more equitably across the year.

Mr Drakeford responded: ‘I intend over the summer to meet with every local authority and I’m completely happy to raise the point that Rhun ap Iorwerth has raised this afternoon and to discuss it with the local people to see whether things can be done better in the future.'

The Government told Transport Network that this was the first four-year settlement it had published since 2010.

Local authorities would receive £143m per annum in general capital funding but could also access other capital schemes.

 
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