BLACKBURN'S environment boss has defended the list of 45 potholed roads being repaired in the next stage of a resurfacing programme.

Coun Jim Smith was asked how the priority schedule was drawn up at the council’s executive board meeting authorising the £1.1 million spending across 14 wards in Blackburn and Darwen.

Tory group leader Mike Lee wanted to know why Beardwood, a major road and bus route in his ward, had been missed off the list.

He intervened as the board approved proposals for the second 12 months of the £17.5million four-year Network Recovery programme, using the latest road treatments.

A further programme using the remaining £1.4 million will be drawn up later this year.

Beardwood with Lammack’s Coun Lee highlighted his concerns and those of Sudell Liberal Democrat Roy Davies over the omission of Powell Street.

He said: “Who did this and decided which roads were included?

“The last full highway survey was done in 2012 and the latest one has not been completed. Why did you not use the one you already have?”

Coun Smith replied: “Officers went out and looked at the state of the roads. I checked them.

“We did not do this willy-nilly.

“If we had done, there would have been more roads resurfaced in my Mill Hill ward. Coun Davies did not do his research. The repair to Powell Street is coming out of a different pot of money.”

Borough leader Kate Hollern said: “The important thing is we have a proper resurfacing scheme right across the borough.

“Beardwood will be included later in a four-year programme.

“We can’t do them all at once.”

The aim is that, by 2017, the 100-mile backlog of highway repairs will have been dealt with and the 350-mile network will be fit for another 20 years.

Engineers hope that the situation, where an average of 1,000 potholes considered a safety risk are repaired at a cost of £50,000 every month, leaving hundreds of others untreated, will be ended.

Darwen Whitehall Liberal Democrat Coun David Foster welcomed the announcement that potholes in his ward would be fixed.

He said: “We have been campaigning for these roads to be sorted out for a long time now so it is great they are being repaired.”