More snow is on its way this weekend – and a White Christmas is all but certain. But despite that the damage that severe weather does to UK roads, the Government has just announced swingeing cuts in the amount of money made available for repairs next year.

The Department of Transport has confirmed that funds given to local councils for repairs will be cut by 20%. True, local authority budgets generally have been cut next year – but by 10%.

At the moment, the councils with the worst roads receive the most for repairs. But Transport Secretary Philip Hammond will end that arrangement because it could encourage councils to let road surfaces deteriorate.

The announcement prompted angry reactions from motoring groups. Neil Greig, the director of policy and research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, told the Daily Mail: ‘local authorities and the government never seem to learn. They think the easiest things they can cut, such as road maintenance, do not immediately cause problems. But they end up costing more money in the long run.’

Snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures play havoc with roads. Water gets into and beneath the road surface, then freezes. Because ice needs more room than water it breaks up the surface and sub-structure, leaving a broken surface and potholes.

Stephen Jury


December 15, 2010