The Perth and Kinross Council’s roads have come under fire from the local MP who’s labelled them as a ‘disgrace’.
Perthshire North’s, SNP, representative, Pete Wishart is calling on more to be done and asking that constituents contact his office if they have a problem with potholes.
Perthshire North MP, Pete Wishart, said: “When the Tory Administration first took over the running of Perth and Kinross Council, they told residents that roads were a priority. They even changed the definition of what was and what was not considered a pothole and how they would instruct roads workers to go about fixing them.
“Now four years later, the Tarmac Tories are failing to live up to their word. The number of complaints my office has had regarding potholes in the last few years has been very much on the increase.
“I fully understand we have had a period of very cold weather this year, but the quality of the local roads network going into the winter was not exactly the best canvas to be starting off with. This is not a criticism of Tayside Contract’s staff and others, who have been working extremely hard in these challenging times, but we really need the Tories to get on top of the region’s potholes.
“The Tory Administration need to be straight with the public about why their changes to policy back in 2017 have not worked and get our local roads sorted out.”
However, one of the Highland’s council representatives thinks that now is the wrong time to criticise the roads given the restrictions on all activities which the pandemic has imposed.
Highland Ward councillor, John Duff, argues that the Conservative councillors are acting proactively to maintain the local roads.
He said: “As Mr Wishart knows well, roads maintenance programmes across the UK have been totally disrupted due to the pandemic.
“For a large part of last year, Tayside contacts were not allowed to maintain roads because of Scottish government restrictions, and they’re still trying to catch up.
“Last year the conservative administration put in an additional three million pounds into the roads budget. If I recall correctly, the SNP proposed no increase in roads funding at all.
“In addition, the Conservatives maintain that the winter maintenance budget when the SNP proposed significant cuts.
“Roads are a key priority to the Conservative administration, as our investment record shows.”
However, SNP group leader, Grant Laing said: “The SNP group feel the grand standing of two thousand and seventeen by the current administration and the change of policy has not improved on the road infostructure, and this needs to change.”
A spokesperson from the council also corresponded that the pandemic is causing them problems in trying to carry out their plans on the road.
Explaining in more detail, they said: “The lockdown due to the covid-19 pandemic made it impossible to carry out all of the Council’s 2020/21 planned resurfacing programme.
“Planned patching was carried out in late 2020 but the programme was significantly affected, as the projects planned for the three months, which were lost could not be delivered when the restrictions were lifted.
“Similarly, resurfacing projects were deferred and these roads have continued to deteriorate and will continue to do so until such a time that they can be included back into the programme.
“Following the Scottish Road Works Commissioner’s June statement works did recommence as described above, whilst maintaining social distancing protocols and so works were further impacted.
“The condition of the roads in Perth and Kinross is independently surveyed annually. The survey results run a year behind. In the 2016/17 survey, 37.2 per cent were needing treatment and in 2019/20 survey there was an improvement, as this number reduced to 34.9 per cent needing treatment. This equates to 32km of our network being in better condition than in 2016/17.”
“Now the severe winter weather that we have recently experienced has started to improve, additional resources can be dedicated to improving the road conditions.”