Increased investment in the repair and maintenance of roads and footpaths across Essex has been confirmed for the next year.
Speaking at Full Council meeting last week, Cllr Lee Scott, Cabinet Member for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport, announced the budget for 2023/24 for highway and footway repair and maintenance would receive increased investment of £9 million. He confirmed:
- £4m for schemes such as the Member-led pothole scheme, and a new scheme for footpaths.
- Additional investment for general highways maintenance and service.
- Refining the roles and responsibilities of Local Highway Panels to improve efficiency and influence.
Cllr Scott also confirmed that proposed changes to the part night lighting by two hours a day will now not be going ahead. It had been proposed that a reduction in the length of time streetlights are on could save money.
Last year’s very hot summer and the rain and cold snaps this winter have caused significant damage on the roads and footways. Essex County Council’s commitment to providing further additional funding will ensure that Essex Highways is able to carry out more of the repair and maintenance work needed across the county.
Cllr Scott said: “We have had to make some difficult decisions in this years’ council budget, and this reflects the challenges we’re all facing on our finances at the moment. I am pleased, however, that Essex County Council is able to go further and provide increased investment for maintenance and repairs of the county’s roads and footpaths over the course of the next year.
“At the heart of delivering this investment is the work that will continue with Members across the council to address the defects in their local areas and deliver roads and footpaths for their local residents that are safe.”
The announcements were made at Full Council, where our 2023/24 budget proposals were being discussed. In addition to maintaining and repairing roads, the proposals also include boosting social care for adults and children, protecting the environment, and promoting climate change and economic growth to support levelling up.
Supporting the vulnerable, improving infrastructure, ensuring pupils receive a high-quality education and help with the cost of living are at the heart of the council budget plans for 2023/24, driven by resident and business priorities and the commitments in Everyone’s Essex, the Council’s plan to level up the county.
Driven by the commitments outlined in Everyone’s Essex, the budget proposals have been formulated at a time of huge economic uncertainty.
With inflation above 10 percent – its highest level for 40 years – council finances are under huge pressure. Inflation, rises in utility prices and interest rates coupled with increased demand have added £87m more to the cost of services this year.
Balancing those factors with the need to limit impacts on household budgets in the current cost-of-living crisis mean a proposed Council Tax increase of 3.5 per cent.
This is made up of a 1.5 per cent council tax increase, plus a further 2 per cent ring-fenced to Adult Social Care.
This means for an average Band D property household, the ECC element of Council Tax will increase by £49.05 next year, or 94p per week.