NORTHUMBERLAND County Council has announced an extra £15m funding for rural roads and path repairs across the county in this year’s budget.

With over 5,000kms of roads in Northumberland, many of them connecting smaller communities, the council said the new initiative would create widespread improvements for residents, visitors and businesses.

The new investment, split equally over the next two years, is on top of this year’s overall funding for roads, walking and cycling in the Local Transport Plan of £18.5m.

Coun. Glen Sanderson, cabinet member for environment and local services, said: “We know how vital our road network is and maintaining and improving it is a year-round task.

“Our more rural roads are key connections between towns and villages and also attract thousands of visitors and tourists to our beautiful county. Many of our pavements and footways are also in need of long term investment to improve their condition and make walking easier and safer for our residents.

“Our latest residents' surveys have shown the condition of these roads and paths is one of their main issues and we are responding to years of under funding. We’re determined to make improvements right across the county.”

The extra funding is expected to be rubber-stamped by the full council next month before a detailed plan of work is implemented.