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Road Condition

Volume 705: debated on Thursday 16 December 2021

As announced in October’s spending review, during this Parliament the Government are investing over £5 billion in highways maintenance—enough to fill in millions of potholes a year, repair dozens of bridges, and resurface roads up and down the country.

I am grateful for that reassuring answer, but I am sorry to report that in High Wycombe there are all too many jarring potholes, and a number of our surfaces on important junctions are now breaking down to the point that they are dangerous to motorcycles. Is it not absolutely vital that councils are properly funded and equipped to keep our roads safe?

My hon. Friend is quite right. Potholes are a menace to all road users, particularly motorcyclists. That is why the Government are working tirelessly to remove them from our roads. The Government’s decision to provide local highway authorities with a three-year highway maintenance funding settlement will enable them, in line with good asset management planning, to proactively plan their maintenance and pothole repair programme more effectively. I am sure that that will bring results in Wycombe.

I thank the Minister for his answer. It takes an hour and a half by train to do the under 70 miles to Clacton, and we rely on our roads to prosper. We in Clacton often feel overlooked. I would like the Minister to come down to our sunshine coast, where he will see that we need better roads. Does he believe that transport links, particularly in coastal communities, should be the focus when it comes to levelling up?

Coastal communities such as Clacton are part of this nation’s soul, and this Government are committed to such coastal communities and to levelling up across our Union. I can assure my hon. Friend that this Department works closely with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to ensure that coastal communities recover from covid-19 and to help them to level up. Of course, that includes transport links.

The road across Hammersmith bridge has been completely closed since April, causing congestion, chaos, pollution and danger across Putney. Can the Minister confirm whether there will be funding in the Transport for London settlement for the repair and renewal of Hammersmith bridge, whether there will be funding for Hammersmith and Fulham Council and whether the Government will provide the additional funding to reopen Hammersmith bridge?

That bridge is of course owned by the local Labour authority. The Transport Department has been stepping in to help, but I would urge the hon. Member to continue engage with her local authority to ensure that the repairs take place.