UK & World News
£140m Pothole Repair Fund After Winter Storms
An extra £140m is being made available by Westminster to help local councils repair roads which have been battered by this winter's severe weather.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "Having the right infrastructure in place to support businesses and hardworking people is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan.
"This extra money will help make a real difference to the millions of road users and local residents who rely on local roads, giving them safer and smoother journeys."
Some £36.5m of the cash will be ring-fenced for councils which experienced the worst of the flooding and it brings the total amount of emergency government funding for these authorities to £80m.
All councils in England can apply for a share of the other £103.5m in additional funding to cover the cost of repairs after the wettest winter on record.
Some of the most serious flooding was experienced in the Surrey County Council area where at least £15m - half its annual budget - has already been spent on repairing battered roads since Christmas.
Repair teams have been working at weekends to patch roads where a combination of rainwater and groundwater has caused more erosion than an average winter.
John Furey, Cabinet Member for Transport, Highways and Environment with Surrey County Council, told Sky News: "It's double the problem for this year. The reason is that it's been a continuous flooding situation, not something that happened and then we could deal with it.
"The biggest problem has been the inspection times. We haven't been able to get in and look and see how much has needed to be done.
"Now we're doing it. We've started the recovery stage. Now we're looking at what needs to be done and looking at what government is going to put into this."
Surrey County Council will have to apply for extra financial help from the Government and its allocation will depend on the length of affected roads in its jurisdiction.
It does not expect its allocation to cover all the money spent on repairs and other budgets will have to be trimmed.
The Government intends to release the money by the end of this coming week and it hopes that councils will have completed repairs in time for the summer holidays.
Delays will cost motorists money too, as experienced by the increase in those seeking repairs to their cars at Reigate Motor Company.
The garage's director Simon Youthed told Sky News that business was particularly brisk and that potholes were to blame.
"We always see damaged cars at this time of year, but certainly the floods have had their effect on the roads, certainly in this area," he said.
"It's predominantly cars going through potholes, usually at speed, that often the drivers don't see.
"One of the road wheels tends to go down into the pothole with force ... (and) that can either damage the wheel itself, it can damage the tyre, it can damage the suspension springs."
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