THE county council has armed itself with the latest equipment as it aims to improve the state of Northumberland’s roads.

Northumberland County Council has invested £80,000 in a new state-of-the-art paving machine which can lay roads more efficiently than previous equipment.

The news of the purchase followed the announcement that Northumberland had been allocated a total of £7.73m to fix its roads as part of the Chancellor’s Budget announcement promising £420m nationally for local highways maintenance.

Operated by a team of six people, the paver will prove flexible as it can lay both wide roads and narrow footpaths, so was deemed perfect for Northumberland’s large variety of road types.

It can lay new surfaces quicker and more consistently than before, and, because it is owned and operated by the county council, the authority will be able to undertake the works at a lower cost than external contractors.

The purchase of the paver forms part of the council’s fleet replacement programme which involves more than 600 vehicles, from gritters to bin wagons, being replaced in the coming years.

Coun. Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services, said: “Improving our roads remains a top priority and this new paving machine means we can work faster and more efficiently to get repairs done.

“Where we can, we now make much more permanent pothole repairs which, although more expensive, will last longer.

“By using the latest technology, communities will benefit from our investment for many years to come.”

Peter Jackson, leader of the county council, said: “We want everyone to feel proud of, and enjoy, where they live, and we can play our part by ensuring the roads that connect our many communities are as good as they can be.”