Pothole data provides ‘strong evidence’ that UK’s roads are deteriorating

12.00 | 1 August 2016 | | 2 comments

The RAC says analysis of pothole-related call-outs from the last 10 years provides ‘strong evidence’ that the quality of Britain’s roads has deteriorated substantially.

The analysis, which compares pothole-related breakdowns to all other types of call-out, shows a 125% increase from 2006 to 2016 in the proportion of vehicle breakdowns where poor road surfaces were likely to be a contributory factor.

In the 12 months ending in June 2006, pothole-related breakdowns, such as damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs and distorted wheels, represented an average of 0.4% of all RAC call-outs. In the same 12 month period to June 2016 this percentage had risen to 0.9%.

In April, the Government announced it would provide £50m during this financial year to enable more than 100 councils across England to repair 943,000 potholes.

The money was delivered as part of the £250m ‘Pothole Action Fund’ which will be used to repair more than four million potholes by 2020/21.

However, the RAC says the effect of ‘insufficient investment’ over much of the last decade is going to take ‘considerable time to rectify’.

David Bizley, RAC chief engineer, said: “Our analysis paints a very disappointing picture which unequivocally confirms what most road users already know, which is that the condition of our local roads has deteriorated drastically in the last decade. 

“This analysis suggests that the quality of the UK’s roads suffered a steady decline from the start of 2007 through to the end of 2009, presumably due to lack of investment in maintenance and resurfacing during worsening economic times. 

“Since then, injections of short-term funding have addressed the immediate aftermath of periods of extreme weather but have not been sufficient to tackle the underlying problem.”

In March, the Asphalt Industry Alliance’s (AIA) estimated that the ‘one-time cost’ to get roads in England and Wales back into reasonable condition is now £11.8bn.

Photo: _chrisUK via Flickr. Use under Creative Commons.


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    The RAC’s method of investigating this and which led to this ‘strong evidence’ is shaky to say the least i.e. “… where poor road surfaces were likely to be a contributory factor..(to the breakdown)” Seems a rather tenuous deduction.

    I’ve lived in the same area for thirty years and subjectively, my local roads and those beyond which I may use from time to time, are no worse now than they have been in the past. Potholes and trenches are repaired quickly after reporting and regular maintenance is apparent – I would imagine it varies from council to council though.

    An investiagtion by the RAC of damage done to footways due to vehicles regularly mounting the kerbs and parking on them would be interesting, but then the RAC would have to wag their finger at the motorists (some of their own members perhaps?) and not the Councils.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    Once again the RAC is ahead of the news! News that we have been reading about and well reported on this website since 2012 at least. So nothing new there. My question is where has the monies that should have gone on the roads gone to and to what end? Begs the question doesn’t it. Any answers anyone?

    R.Craven Blackpool
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