THE number of roads needing repairs in York has fallen by more than two-thirds in three years, but a major backlog of roadworks remains, city bosses have said.

City of York Council's transport chief Ann Reid said the number of classified roads requiring work dropped from 32 per cent in 2002/03 to ten per cent last year.

Coun Reid, executive member for city strategy, said those roads most in need of work would be targeted as a priority.

A new repair strategy has also been agreed, which will see ten per cent of the budget used for non-resurfacing work, such as repairing gulleys.

She was speaking after a meeting of the city strategy panel, at which the new strategy was endorsed.

She welcomed the fall in the number of badly damaged roads, but said bringing the city's highways network up to an excellent standard would be dependent upon the city's bid for Private Finance Initiative (PFI) credits from the Government.

Coun Reid said: "When we were elected in 2003, the condition of roads was a huge issue across the city.

"We have made a lot of progress in this area, and the number of classified roads requiring work has gone down from 32 per cent in 2002/03 to just ten per cent last year.

"For unclassified roads, we have now achieved the Government benchmark figure.

"However, we are aware that some streets still need work and we will be targeting future budgets at the roads in the worst condition.

"We know that to get the whole of York's road network into excellent condition would cost much more money than we can currently afford.

"We have applied for Government support for a PFI bid to enable us to raise the money to do this work.

"We are waiting for a decision on our application, but I think York has a really strong case for additional investment in our roads.

"Until the decision is made, we will continue to do as much as possible within the city's own budget."

As previously reported in The Press, the council has applied to the Department of Transport for PFI credits. More than £300 million is available.

Opposition parties have voiced concern about committing the city to a 25-year strategy, but ruling councillors say it is essential to improving the standard of the roads network.