Transport secretary Chris Grayling has announced that crumbling local roads across England are to receive a significant overhaul as part of a £1billion investment project.

It was initially envisaged that the cash, held in the national roads fund, would be spent on motorways and major A-roads managed by Highways England but the Transport Secretary announced a change of tack, saying that some of it should be diverted to be spent on roads run by local authorities.

He placed a particular focus on a “bypass fund”, while some of the money will also be used to help councils enhance or replace the most important A-roads under their management, the DfT said.

Under the strategy, which could be implemented in 2020, road improvement programmes are to be judged on how they contribute to creating a more geographically balanced economy, increase productivity or growth and tackle congestion.

The DfT pledged to support every part of the country and, in some cases, give priority to smaller schemes that are “proven solutions” so passengers and drivers get the benefits quicker. A major road network is to be created under the plan and a consultation on its definition will be opened later this year.

There is a currently a significant disparity between local roads and those found on the strategic road network, which has witnessed substantial funds invested. Local roads form the vast majority of roads in the country and allow the public to commute locally and link local communities to the high speed network and the rest of the country. This overdue investment is welcome.