Armstrong says rural roads will continue to suffer

Alliance MLA Kellie Armstrong has said rural roads in particular will continue to suffer due to budget cuts, after it was revealed almost £500,000 has been paid out in compensation to drivers of vehicles damaged by potholes in the past two years.

The figures confirm between January 2016 and November 2017, a total of 1,935 vehicle damage claims led to compensation payments of £495,358. More than 78,000 surface defects were recorded.

“Potholes represent a real danger, particularly after snowfall and subsequent flooding, when people are unable to see them. Unfortunately, when our infrastructure is under such pressure, it is inevitable this will happen. It was raised before on the Infrastructure Committee and rural roads in particular were identified as being at risk,” said Ms Armstrong.

“Unfortunately, with the projections for budgets being as they are, instead of seeing the multi-million-pound investment in our roads which is needed, we will be lucky if we get a fraction of that. This is a consequence of protecting health and education among other areas, as well as having different priorities from the block grant.

“There has been talk of turning off all the street lights in a few years because there we simply won’t be able to afford to keep them on. So if that is the case, unfortunately most rural roads can be forgotten about, as main trunk roads and urban to urban roads will then be prioritised.”

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