ENGLAND'S biggest county is set to take back control of work on its 5,750 mile road network and the £50m budget that goes with it.

North Yorkshire's road system which would stretch to India if laid out direct has been looked after through contractors for many years.

Now the county council, which as the highway authority is responsible for looking after roads in the largest and most rural local government area in the country, is planning to set up a new company wholly owned by the council which could operate commercially, potentially making money for the authority.

Cllr Don Mackenzie, executive member for access, said: "It’s a model which would allow us greater control and flexibility over our highways service delivery, while removing the contractual constraints that exist with the current arrangements.

"Through more direct accountability for the works on the ground we could deliver a ‘right first time’ service with the customer continuing to be at the heart of everything that we do."

The scheme which officers say will ensure a service fit for the future would operate through what is known as a Teckal company. The plans will go before councillors on April 16.

The road network which stretches from Teesside to south of the M62 and from Scarborough to Bentham in the west is currently looked after through maintenance contractor Ringway. That work has included improvement and maintenance of highways including repairing potholes, as well as essential winter maintenance and emergency response such as flooding.

Cllr Mackenzie added: "A very large proportion of the highways team live in North Yorkshire, they are passionate about their communities and take pride in delivering services which are used by their own friends and families. We believe that the proposed delivery model will ensure we get the maximum benefit from that local pride and passion."

If approved the new scheme will come into force by April 2021, with potentially many staff currently employed by Ringways transferring to the new company. Officers say they would not expect to take on work from outside customers in the first few years but would plan to build on bringing in outside work over time to ensure best value for the county council.