February 9, 2010

Snow and big freeze leaves London with a £100m repair bill

London taxpayers face a £100million bill to repair and maintain roads following extensive damage caused by one of the coldest winters on record.

Experts say that fixing potholes and other snow damage could cost London councils as much as an additional £20million to their annual £80million budget.

At the same time London’s councils face a 25 per cent squeeze on government grants earmarked for repairing roads.

Motoring organisations said thousands of unfixed potholes posed a threat to drivers and cyclists.

Highways teams have been dispatched across the capital to fix the unprecedented number of potholes created by the big freeze and some councils have set up “pothole hotlines”.

Martin Low, president of the Local Government Technical Advisers’ Group, and city commissioner of transportation for Westminster council, said: “A sizeable chunk of councils’ transport budgets this year will need to service the extensive damage to the road network as a result of the severe weather.”

Sutton council is one of the worst hit and put its estimated bill for repairs at £3million.

Harrow council said damage caused by the cold snap would cost the taxpayer up to £2million.

Meanwhile, Richmond council said it has asked residents to report dangerous potholes so that they can be filled in as soon as possible.

The Local Government Association has written to the Department for Transport asking for £100million to be brought forward to pay for the damage caused by the cold.

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