Highland Council Committee approves prioritised roads capital programme for Caithness

Members of the Caithness Committee agreed a list of prioritised programme of works for structural overlay/inlay works and surface dressing schemes which will be funded out of the Capital Budget allocation for 2023/24.

The actual 2023/24 capital roads budget allocation for Caithness is still to be finalised but based on the previous financial year and analysis of road condition survey results it is expected to be similar to 2022/23.

This would give a capital budget allocation for Caithness of £594,452 in total, consisting of £335,065 for overlay/inlay works and £259,387 towards surface dressing schemes.

During the debate members raise their concerns about the deterioration of many roads across Caithness and highlighted the need to continue campaigning for more resources. A motion was agreed that the Committee write to the Scottish Government that the Highland Council, but particularly Caithness needs additional urgent capital roads investment.

In relation to this motion, Cllr Raymond Bremner who is the Leader of The Highland Council stated that he was fully committed to improved capital roads investment but it would be inappropriate for him to be seen to be using his position as Leader to benefit one particular area and therefore it would be more appropriate for him to maintain a neutral position.

Caithness Committee Chair, Cllr Ron Gunn said: “It has been well reported that the roads network across Caithness are currently in poor condition, making driving conditions for both residents and visitors challenging.

“We are aware of the importance attached to local roads by everyone in Caithness so we need to ensure that our capital allocation is managed well to bring real benefits to the communities we represent.

“It is important that as a committee we are as transparent as possible about the decisions made and the scale of the challenge before us. We know that we don’t have all the funding we need to do everything we want, but by agreeing the capital roads’ priorities for the coming year not only helps us allocate funding according to priority but sets out a clear work programme.

“We will continue to do the best we can with the resources we have but due to the amount of work that is required we will be actively looking at ways to obtain extra funding.”

Works for the Caithness area are identified based on a prioritised ranking.  The ranking is informed by:

  • Scottish Road Maintenance Condition Survey (SRMCS) data;
  • safety inspections;
  • service inspections; and
  • input and feedback from Ward Members

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