Page last updated at 06:21 GMT, Monday, 1 February 2010

North Yorkshire faces 20m winter road repairs

Pothole (generic)
County engineers will have to prioritise pothole repairs

Gritting and repairing roads affected by the recent freezing weather will cost North Yorkshire County Council almost £20m, BBC News has been told.

That is more than three times the average winter maintenance bill of £6m.

Pothole repairs will cost about £10m and the council reckons it will have spent £9m on gritting alone, finance director John Moore said.

The cost is so high the council aims to add a "snow levy" to council tax bills as well as dipping into its reserves.

It is proposing a 2.94% increase in council tax for 2010, bringing the annual bill for an average band D property to £1,057.48, up £30.18, or 58p a week.

That is enough for the council to generate an extra £1m for pothole repairs. Another £1m is being drawn from the council's reserves.

The damage caused to the county's highways by the most extreme weather conditions for 30 years will cost millions of pounds to repair
North Yorkshire County Council statement

However, that £2m boost would still leave the council needing to find £8m if it was to carry out all the repairs needed across England's largest county.

"We haven't got £8m to mend all that," said Mr Moore.

"We will have to prioritise which are the most important repairs and focus our resources on them."

Meanwhile, the proposed council tax rise will be considered by the council's executive on Tuesday and by the full county council on 17 February.

A council spokesman said: "The [council tax] increase would have been even lower had it not been for the extensive damage caused to the county's highways in this winter's big freeze.

"The damage caused to the county's highways by the most extreme weather conditions for 30 years will cost millions of pounds to repair.

"We have taken what is prudent from our reserves to help to pay for this work, but there is still a shortfall which must be covered through tax."



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SEE ALSO
Emergency work to repair potholes
20 Jan 10 |  West Yorkshire
Deep potholes cause road closure
17 Jan 10 |  North Yorkshire

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