OPPOSITION councillors in Blaenau Gwent have called for more money to be spent on fixing roads in Blaenau Gwent.

At a full council meeting on Thursday, March 21 the poor state of the roads in the county was a recurring theme for discussion.

The council annual road maintenance budget is £2.7 million but calls have been made for more to be spent on the network.

During an item to discuss the council’s capital strategy to fund building and maintenance works, the state of the roads was brought up by deputy independent group leader Cllr Wayne Hodgins.

The council has £73.233 million to spend on building projects during 2024/2025 which will mostly be used on schools.

Cllr Wayne Hodgins said that the report explains “quite clearly” that the point of the capital programme is to: “enhance existing fixed assets.”

Cllr Hodgins: “I’m coming back to the old chestnut of our highway network, the largest asset we own.

“We have an estimated spend of £73 million on certain capital projects and I understand some schools that need to be done and am fully supportive.

“I think we would all agree certain parts of the highway network have past their useful life.”

He asked if there would be any money spent on the roads and whether capital projects could be “realigned” to free up some capital for this purpose.

“I accept it’s not only Blaenau Gwent you only have to look at the news headlines< across the whole of the UK there’s now a pandemic of road repairs, it’s terrible,” said Cllr Hodgins.

Council leader, Labour’s Cllr Steve Thomas said: “The road infrastructure pains me as well.”

He explained that the last couple of road improvement programmes had been funded by Welsh Government grants – but this avenue has now dried up.

Cllr Thomas said he would continue pressing government minister for money to fix roads.

Cllr Thomas: “All I can say to you is we will continue to investigate and badger for external funding sources and look at any new opportunities that arise to put money into roads but I don’t have a magic want to produce the money.”