Lincolnshire lose battle to maintain road funding

Lincolnshire county council has received a letter confirming its roads maintenance grant allocation for 2022/23 will remain £12m less than 2019/20.

In the 2019/20 financial year, Lincolnshire was allocated £51m maintenance funding. This was cut down to just under £39m for 2021/22 and will remain at this level until 2025 according to the Department for Transport.

Cllr Martin Hill, leader of Lincolnshire County Council, said: “Government’s decision to not fill our highways maintenance funding gap is incredibly disappointing, especially in spite of several assurances we received from Westminster.

“Instead, we now face a £36m-plus funding shortfall for our roads until 2025. We now face the decision of continuing to fund the gap from reserves and council tax or leave 72,000 potholes unfilled and 111 miles of crumbling road un-repaired over the next three years.”

“The maintenance funding we’re receiving simply isn’t enough and we can’t keep using reserves to fill the gap. At some point, something has got to give.”

Cllr Richard Davies

Cllr Richard Davies, executive member for highways, said: “This decision from Westminster is not only frustrating, but it’s also disheartening.

“The worst part is that DfT’s allocations don’t even factor in inflation or the fact that labour and material costs are skyrocketing. So it’s not just a £36m funding gap we need to fill over the next three years.

“Hopefully government and the DfT recognise that Lincolnshire and other rural counties play an equally important role within the UK and deserve a fairer share of funding for roads and other essential services.

“In the meantime, when it comes to maintaining our roads, we’ll continue working efficiently and making the most of the funding we have.”

Cllr Martin Hill added: “We’ve been fighting for fairer funding for a number of years and, although government has admitted there’s a need to reform local government money for spending, we haven’t seen any action for two years now.

“If things keep going the way they are, we could see a huge jump in unplanned roadworks, lessened safety because of potholes and other preventable issues and a big drop in the overall resilience of our road network. And that’s not to mention a loss of local young people interested in getting into the construction or engineering industries thanks to the negativity people rightfully have for our roads.

“That’s why, despite this disappointing outcome, we will continue our fight for fairer funding for the residents and drivers of the East Midlands and Lincolnshire. We cannot continue to be overlooked.”

Lincolnshire County Council launched its ‘Fix Our Funds To Fix Our Roads’ campaign in December 2021 to lobby Westminster to reinstate the £12m in vital roads maintenance funds cut in 2020/21. The campaign included working with local MPs, writing to the Transport Secretary, and encouraging residents to get involved by writing to their MP about the state of the county’s roads.