NEARLY £5million is being ploughed into roads across south Essex, in a bid to tackle potholes.

The Government has set aside £168million to mend broken roads across Britain, which is the biggest investment of its kind since the 1970s.

The funding has been split across 148 local authorities, with Essex County Council getting £4.4million – one of the biggest chunks of cash.

Southend Council has been awarded £174,332, while Thurrock Council is set to receive £258,594.

Taxi Driver Ralph Morgan, from the Basildon Hackney Carriage Association, has long campaigned for potholes to be repaired to stop vehicles being damaged.

He said: “I think this money will certainly help, but the repairs have got to be done properly.

There is no point just dumping tarmac in the pothole, the roads have got to be resurfaced.

“Potholes can damage vehicles, but they are also dangerous for cyclists or people on motorbikes.

They could easily go flying if they went over one.”

The repairs to the worse pothole- ridden roads in south Essex are set to be completed by March.

Council’s which demonstrated “best practice in highways maintenance”, including bringing in specialist machinery or setting up dedicated repair teams, were handed the most money.

Rodney Bass, cabinet member for highways and transportation at Essex County Council, said: “This funding will make a difference.

We know that highway defects are one of the biggest sources of dissatisfaction in the county.

“This is another boost to the investment which Essex County Council itself is already putting in to improve roads, keep transport moving and ensure future economic growth and prosperity in the county.

“I must emphasise this will not fix the entire network of potholes across Essex, but it will make a difference.

“I trust the residents of Essex are beginning to notice an improvement in roads already, as a result of earlier initiatives, and this latest news will ensure this continues.

“I apologise for any unforeseen disruption these road repairs cause.”

Themoney is on top of an extra £185 million the Government has already made available to help repair local roads damaged by severe weather.