Roads situation to ‘get worse before it gets better’

Coun David Sheard
Coun David Sheard

Campaigners have called on Kirklees to do more to make roads safer for its motorists.

Road safety charity Brake stressed the importance of investing in road repairs after Kirklees announced a cut of 30 percent in its spending on the highway repairs budget.

But the acting leader of Kirklees Council has warned the situation with roads will “get worse before it gets better”, as cuts in government funding continue to bite.

Ed Morrow, campaigns officer for Brake, said: “It is vitally important that road surfaces are kept in safe condition, as potholes can contribute to devastating crashes that end and ruin lives.

“Investing in road repairs can help prevent the huge cost to society of a serious crash. Drivers can reduce the danger from potholes by staying well within the speed limit, and introducing 20mph limits on residential roads can also help reduce the occurrence of potholes as there is less high speed traffic hammering the road surface.”

Acting council leader David Sheard estimated the amount of money the council receives in central government grants for its roads has decreased by about 70 percent since the economic crash in 2008.

He said: “To mend all of the roads that need to be mended, we will need about ten times the amount of money we currently get for them.”

“We have to be realistic about it – unless we get something back from the government in VAT or petrol tax it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”

Steve Benson, leader of campaign group Project Mirfield, remains optimistic about the possibility of getting funding from the council to make speed restrictions and improvements to Wellhouse Lane and surrounding roads.

He added: “I don’t see why these cuts should affect our campaign.”