Rural bridges in the county need £500,000 spending on them to bring them up to standard, it has been revealed.

Shropshire Council said 30 bridges on the county’s public rights of way need half a million pounds spending on them to ensure they are in top condition.

The authority also revealed it is facing a “staffing problem” in the rights of way department, with two senior officers set to retire in the near future with 60 years’ shared experience.

Shona Butter, rights of way, mapping and enforcement manager, told a meeting of the communities overview committee, that the work was needed soon.

She said: “We have 5,600 rights of way in Shropshire and if you put them all in a line it would stretch from Shrewsbury to New York.

“We need £500,000 to spend on the top 30 bridges, some stone, some wooden, and will be making a capital funding bid for it.

“This would help secure the resurfacing of these bridges and bringing them up to the standard that is needed going forward.”

Councillor Ceclia Motley, committee chair, said she believed a lot of bridleways had been abused in the past by “big four by fours”.

“We had a problem a while back of these big four by fours owned by people out of Shropshire coming to the county and churning up our green lanes and making quite a mess of them.

“We brought in gates that not even mountain bikes can get through, making these paths suitable only for horse riders and pedestrians.”

She added: “I can imagine that it is very tough to maintain the rights of way and the work on the bridges will no doubt be difficult, especially with so many of them being listed.”

Ms Butter added: “We have an upcoming staffing problem in the department at the moment,

“I am about to lose two senior staff members who have 60 years’ experience between them. They retire at the same time.

“You can’t replace this amount of knowledge or experience so it will be a worry and a bit of a depleted team.

“We used to have separate mapping and enforcement teams but they were merged to one a while back now and currently it is myself and two and a half others.”