Pothole crisis deepens

12.00 | 11 October 2013 | | 2 comments

Britain’s roads are peppered with almost 200,000 potholes, approximately one for every mile of road in Great Britain, according to council data obtained via a freedom of information request by Britannia Rescue.

A study by Britannia Rescue suggests that UK councils received 32,600 compensation claims and paid out £2.5m in compensation in the past financial year – for everything from potholes ruining wheel rims, to puncturing tyres and damaging suspension. The sum represents an increase of 79% compared with the previous year.

One of the country’s largest local authorities, Lincolnshire County Council, reported pay-outs amounting to more than £358,665 in 2012/13.

Britannia Rescue says that road maintenance in the UK is severely under-funded, with around £16 spent per driver on maintaining road surfaces and fixing potholes – less than 10% of the annual road tax bill. The company also says that "short-term fixes are often chosen over longer term solutions".

Peter Horton, Britannia Rescue managing director, said: “Britain’s pothole epidemic has resulted from years of underinvestment in our roads and has been exacerbated by recent harsh winters.

"Local authorities face difficult choices in the roads they prioritise for repair and we now have around 200,000 potholes on UK roads. Motorists should protect themselves and their vehicles by reducing their speed on potholed roads, and also reporting damaged roads to their local council.”

The AA said a third of its members had suffered pothole damage within the last two years.

A spokesperson said: “A ring-fenced £215m of emergency funding was pumped in by the Government last autumn but with winter on the horizon it looks like this may not be enough to stem the army of potholes marching across the UK’s roads.”

A DfT spokesman defended the Government’s record, saying: “We recently announced £12bn for road maintenance. The condition of local roads is the responsibility of local highway authorities.

“This Government has set aside just under £6 billion for English highway authorities over the course of the next parliament for local highways maintenance – enough to fill 19 million potholes per year.

“This is on top of the £6 billion for the maintenance of Highways Agency roads, as well as the £3.4 billion we are already providing in the period 2011 to 2015.”


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    The problem is a defence that they have an inspection policy in place, and what council is going to admit that they don’t? And that they have not been made aware of that particular pot hole. It’s not in their interest to actually hold their hands up and say that they failed.

    On the other hand I understand that gangs have been going round sizing up potholes and making false claims with false receipts from false garages. Who would believe that?

    PS I can’t understand that there are only 200.000 potholes believed to be on our roads, or one per mile. Please come and ride as my pillion around the roads of Lancashire and I will show you just how many there are.

    bob craven Lancs
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    This situation can only get worse with the coming winter months. As I a rider of a large cruiser I am very aware of the dangers posed to 2 wheel riders. The local authority have a statutory duty to maintain the roads.

    They also have a Statutory defence as they cannot be held liable for a defect they do not know about, either because it has not been reported to them or because it has not been picked up in their own road condition surveys. However, they should also have a robust inspection procedure in place to monitor the roads. They must also have a reporting system in place upon which they must act.

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