Millions of individuals in Yorkshire and the Humber are set to benefit from more efficient, safer, and quicker road journeys, thanks to the most extensive road resurfacing initiative ever undertaken to enhance local roads in the region.
On Friday, 17 November, Transport Secretary Mark Harper revealed the allocations of an £8.3 billion long-term plan, sufficient to resurface over 5,000 miles of roads nationwide over the next 11 years. This initiative is a crucial component of Network North, designed to enhance travel experiences for all.
Local highway authorities in Yorkshire and The Humber, including the City of York, East Riding of Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, and the West and South Yorkshire Combined Authorities, will each be granted a portion of the £991 million. This funding enables them to identify the most urgently needed repairs on local roads and implement immediate enhancements for communities and residents.
In the current financial year, local highway authorities in Yorkshire and The Humber will receive £14.8 million, followed by an additional £14.8 million for 2024/2025, with the remainder allocated through 2034.
Already earmarked is £5.5 billion for England (outside London) from 2020/21 to 2024/25, including the £200 million announced by the Chancellor in March. This additional £8.3 billion nationwide boost extends until 2034, offering long-term certainty to local authorities and helping to mitigate future pothole issues.
The funding supplements local transport, road, and rail budgets assigned in the last Spending Review and exceeds the expectations of local authorities for the next decade.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said; “For too long politicians have shied away from taking the right long-term decisions to make life easier for hardworking families – tackling the scourge of potholes being a prime example.
“Well-maintained road surfaces could save drivers up to £440 each in expensive vehicle repairs, helping motorists keep more of the cash in their pocket.
“This unprecedented £8.3 billion investment will pave the road for better and safer journeys for millions of people across the country and put an end to the blight of nuisance potholes.”
Transport Secretary Mark Harper said; “Most people travel by road and potholes can cause misery for motorists, from expensive vehicle repairs to bumpy, slow, and dangerous journeys. Our £991 million boost to repair roads across Yorkshire and The Humber shows that we’re on the side of drivers.
“Today’s biggest ever funding uplift for local road improvements is a victory for all road users, who will enjoy smoother, faster and safer trips – as we use redirected HS2 funding to make the right long-term decisions for a brighter future.”
According to the RAC, well-maintained road surfaces could save drivers up to £440 each in vehicle repairs caused by potholes, contributing to the overall well-being of motorists.
This £991 million boost for Yorkshire and The Humber is crucial, especially considering that, according to an AA survey, addressing potholes and investing in road maintenance is a priority for 96% of drivers. These funds can enhance road safety and promote active travel, as smoother road surfaces will encourage cyclists to use roads with greater confidence.
RAC head of policy Simon Williams said; “Drivers’ biggest bugbear of all is the poor condition of local roads, so the fact the Government has found a significant additional pot of revenue should give councils the certainty of funding they need to plan proper long-term road maintenance, something we have been calling for many years.
“We hope local authorities will use the money in the most effective way possible by resurfacing the very worst roads, keeping those in reasonable condition in better states for longer through surface dressing, and filling potholes as permanently as possible wherever necessary.
“This should in time go a considerable way to bringing our roads back to a fit-for-purpose state and saving drivers hundreds of pounds in the process from not having to fork out for frustrating repairs to their vehicles.”
To ensure transparency and an increase in the number of resurfaced roads, local authorities must regularly publish information on their websites explaining how they are utilizing the funding.
This measure is a key component of the Government’s Network North plan, redirecting funds from HS2 to improve essential daily transport connections. The North is set to benefit from £19.8 billion directly from Network North, enhancing local connectivity across Yorkshire and The Humber with projects such as a new rail station in Bradford, a £2.5 billion West Yorkshire Mass Transit System for Leeds, and the electrification of the rail line from Sheffield to Hull.
The funding builds on regulations announced in April to address pothole issues arising from inadequate streetworks by utility companies. Stricter inspections and costs for the worst offenders are in place, backed by additional measures in the recent Plan for Drivers, including £70 million to keep traffic flowing and initiatives to expedite the rollout of electric vehicle charging.