The RAC has expressed concerned that the inevitable arrival of wintry conditions in the next few weeks will trigger a ‘widespread outbreak’ of potholes on roads across the country.
Figures published by the breakdown organisation show that despite a mild winter so far, its patrols attended more than 2,000 pothole-related breakdowns between October and December 2019 – a 20% rise on the same period in 2018.
Of all the breakdowns experienced by RAC members in 2019, approximately 9,200 were for pothole-related faults such as distorted wheels, broken suspension springs and damaged shock absorbers. This represents 1.1% of all breakdowns.
The RAC says while it expects the Government to provide local authorities with more money to repair potholes, there needs to be a rethink about how councils are funded to maintain the roads under their control.
Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, said: “We might so far be experiencing a milder but wetter winter than in the last couple of years, but our figures clearly show the problem of potholes has not gone away.
“Our patrols are still attending on average around one pothole-related breakdown every hour of the day.
“We anticipate the Government will pledge further funds to help cash-strapped councils mend potholes in the March Budget, but such pledges are only chipping away at the problem, and they’re unfortunately not addressing the root cause of why so much of the UK is still characterised by crumbling road surfaces.
“What we need is for central Government to think differently about how councils are funded to maintain the roads under their control.
“Short-term commitments of cash, while welcome, are not enough on their own – councils need the security of long-term funding so they can plan proper preventative road maintenance.”
The figures were published by the RAC to mark National Pothole Day – created to raise awareness of the ‘ever-growing pothole problem’ on UK roads.