Central government cuts will leave County Highways facing 78% budget cuts for road maintenance. These cuts will affect not only potholes but also the management of highway drainage (gully emptying) across the County. Blocked gullies and ditches are a common cause of local flooding that ruins people's homes.
It is perhaps not a good time for Leicestershire County Council to find itself given a new role as the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA).
The new role comes with devolved responsibilities for investigating flood incidents, enforcing landowner responsibilities and recommending improvements. The LLFA will be a statutory consultee for future planning applications. Their advice will sit alongside the surprisingly reassuring reports NWLDC planners receive from Severn Trent.
Councillors have been told that the LLFA has no ‘big stick’ with which to enforce other agencies responsible for the causes of flooding. If flood alleviation schemes are identified, it can bring together a bid for funding. Private water suppliers have little incentive to proactively invest in renewing the country’s Victorian pipes and sewers.
The current Government’s pinching austerity and soft-hearted attitude to private profit is best described as penny wise and pound foolish. A lack of funding for infrastructure is putting in jeopardy the housing and business development this country so desperately needs.