Council leader calls for urgent review of road funding allocations

Plymouth council leader Tudor Evans is calling for an urgent review of the way the Government allocates funding for road maintenance to end the unfair bias towards rural areas.

Councillor Evans has written to Transport Minister Patrick McLoughlin saying that Plymouth’s share of the £168m national Pothole Fund announced in March was only £359,114, which works out at £443 per kilometre, while Devon received £700 per kilometre.

He said: “It makes no sense that a largely rural area such as Devon should receive £250 more per kilometre than Plymouth, particularly given the much greater wear and tear on urban roads.

“The Government’s continued use of road length in its formulae for funding unfairly weights rural county authorities over city authorities and fails to take account of the differences between urban and rural roads.

“This makes absolutely no sense and I have written to the transport minister asking for urgent action to address this, including a review of the matter by the Transport Select Committee.”

Councillor Evans has also called for the minister to give an update on progress on his request to extend the Strategic National transport corridor beyond Exeter to Plymouth.

He said the minister had a map of the strategic national corridors on his office wall which completely missed off Devon and Cornwall.

He said: “It is difficult to have confidence that his department is taking the South West Peninsula’s priority of faster and more resilient connectivity seriously when the maps that he is working to leaves off Plymouth and Cornwall.

“We have been lobbying hard for long awaited investment in the South West peninsula’s road and rail networks and this is less likely to happen if Devon and Cornwall are left off the strategic transport network. It is as if the two counties don’t exist in the eyes of the Department for Transport. This matter is particularly important as we await the outcome of the West of Exeter Route Resilience Study.”