Potholes measuring less than 15cm wide or 4cm deep are not classed as urgent for repair, according to new Highways Agency guidelines.
The new guidelines refer to trunk roads and motorways. Previously contractors were required to repair any defects in the surface of a road within a 24-hour timeframe.
A recent increase in potholes has been put down as a consequence of three severe winters combined with years of under investment in routine road maintenance.
Neil Greig, IAM director of policy, said: “This just seems to be storing up larger repair bills for the future. All large potholes start off as small potholes – it’s easier and cheaper to fix them early and reduce the risk to road users.
“The reaction of the Highways Agency to this crisis is worrying because it seems to be an attempt to switch their legal responsibilities to maintain safe motorways and trunk roads from themselves to their contractors, in the hope they will come up with something.
“The Highways Agency’s roads are the backbone of the country’s transport system which is why the IAM would like to see their risk assessment of this decision to be assured that motorists will not be put at risk.”
For more information contact the IAM Press Office 020 8996 9777.