Local roads to receive £1.7bn investment

Transport secretary announces £1.7 billion investment in local roads as he urges Britons to avoid public transport

Local roads are to receive £1.7 billion of investment to repair bridges and fill in potholes, the Secretary of State for Transport has announced.

Speaking at the UK Government’s daily coronavirus briefing, Grant Shapps said that transport had a critical role to play in the current phase of the pandemic and reminded Britons to avoid public transport if at all possible. The Transport Secretary’s advice for anyone who cannot walk or cycle to work but has access to a car was to “please use it”.

The £1.7 billion package will be used to fill in some 11 million potholes on local roads, which are not only damaging to cars but also dangerous to people riding bicycles and e-scooters, the latter of which are set to be trialled next month to see if they can be legalised for use on UK roads.

Electric car charging

The Government also announced today plans to install at least six rapid EV chargepoints at every motorway service station in England by 2023, rising to between 10 and 12 for larger sites. By 2030, there should be 2,500 rapid chargers on the UK’s motorways and A roads, and 6,000 by 2035.

Nicholas Lyes, head of roads policy at the RAC, commented: “We have pushed for essential road maintenance to be sped up considering the roads have been much quieter than normal, so we welcome the transport secretary’s announcement today.

“Our own data shows that pothole-related breakdowns increased slightly in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year, even taking into account that the UK was in lockdown for the tail end of this period.

“It is particularly welcome that ministers are removing the complex and bureaucratic bidding procedures that local authorities usually have to go through for these funds, which should speed up repairs.

“We also welcome the Government’s plan to increase the rapid chargepoint network across England’s strategic road network. Concerns about range anxiety still exist, particularly where drivers need their vehicles for longer journeys, so increasing the supply of rapid chargepoints at motorway service areas should help convert a number of drivers that are thinking about buying an electric vehicle into actually buying one.”

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