A North East council has revealed it is facing a multi-million-pound road maintenance backlog, leaving it unable to tackle essential repairs.

Darlington Borough Council said it has a £78million road maintenance backlog - with a budget of just £2.7million available to spend on networks including roads, footways, cycle routes, bridges and more.

Despite recent announcements from Jeremy Hunt that Darlington will receive a £20million government investment in this year’s spring budget, the local authority said it is still unable to tackle the extensive backlog.

Branding the government's investments into Darlington’s road maintenance ‘insufficient’, Darlington Borough Council expect its budget will be unable to cover even essential road maintenance.

The Northern Echo:

Councillor Libby McCollom, Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet member for local services, said: “While we welcome recent Government announcements of additional funding for road maintenance, it is insufficient to tackle the backlog on the roads network in our borough, which amounts to around £78m.

“Councils across the country face similar backlogs which are the result of under-investment and lack of resources allocated from national government over 14 years.

“In the year ahead, we will have just £2.7m available to spend on the maintenance of our network.

"This is not enough to cover the essential maintenance needs of our 557km of roads, 631km of footways and cycle routes, 16,000 lights, 315 bridges and other structures, 67 traffic signal junctions and more than 16,000 signs, bollards, and fences, which amounts to around £12m per year, let alone tackle any backlog."

She added: “This council will always endeavour to use what resource we have to maintain our highways assets in the most cost-efficient manner and maximise future highway maintenance funding opportunities.”

Conservative MP for Darlington, Peter Gibson, endorsed the government announcement.

He said: “Darlington has seen an increase in roads repair funding from the Government up to £20m in the current period and planned to go up to £25m in the next period.

“We now need to see Labour, who have hammered car drivers in Darlington with both parking charges and potholes, to step up to the pothole and fill it in.”

Alongside the government’s recent Spring Budget announcements, last year the government launched its "biggest ever" road resurfacing programme to improve local roads plagued by potholes.

The Northern Echo:

The Department for Transport (DfT) allocated £8.3billion of funds, which have been redirected from the cancelled phase 2 section of HS2.

However, a recent RAC analysis has revealed council road maintenance has fallen to its lowest level in five years.

They have said that just 4,144 miles of roads received any kind of treatment by local authorities in the 2022/23 financial year, down 45 per cent from the total of 7,510 miles five years earlier.

RAC head of policy Simon Williams said that the Government’s £8.3billion investment over 11 years to fix potholes “isn’t nearly enough for a long-term fix”.

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Darren Rodwell, transport spokesperson for the Local Government Association, said: “Councils share concerns about our local roads and are working hard to try and reduce the current £14billion road repairs backlog.

“This includes investing in cost-effective and resilient resurfacing, so that roads stay in better condition for longer, but this has been hampered by inflation and rising costs of materials.

“Extra funding promised over the next decade will help and we urge the Government to award council highways departments with five-yearly funding allocations, so they can develop long-term resurfacing programmes and other significant highways improvements.”