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Sutherland Area Committee Admits Sutherland Roads Will Deteriorate Further As Budget Cannot Meet Needs

30th January 2024

The Sutherland area committee at it meeting on 23 January admitted the roads funding would not meet requirements to keep up even the poor standard already in place.

The capital budget for 2023/24 benefitted from an additional funding allocation, the previous baseline allocation of £7.2m was increased to £20m, however, this increase is not anticipated for the 2024/25 capital budget allocation.

23 January Item 4

The recurring statement on most of the Area committee papers including Sutherland is -
The level of investment across Highland falls short of the budget requirements to maintain a steady state condition of the road network. Deterioration of the overall network will occur with a corresponding risk to the travelling public. An increase in
damage claims can also be expected, as the road defects develop.

Roads are likely to get worse.

Members of the Sutherland Committee agreed a list of proposed prioritised roadworks which will be funded out of the Capital Budget allocation for 2024/25.

The local allocations capital budget for 2024/25 remains to be established which will be calculated from the approved capital budget allocation.

The estimated area capital roads programme is currently based on previous years' baseline £7.2m Highland Area Roads capital budget allocation. Therefore, the estimated local allocation for the Sutherland area is £775,000. Should the approved 2024/25 budget differ from previous budgets then the programme will be adjusted appropriately.

Cllr Richard Gale, Chair of the Sutherland Area Committee said: "There are a number of roads requiring maintenance throughout the area, and while we are not in a position to discuss the area’s road budget at this time, we were pleased to be able to review the list of suggested prioritised works.

“I would also like to express my thanks to the work of our roads operations teams who have been out in the recent bad weather to clear the snow, ice, and debris from our roads to make them safer for others."