Budget pothole fund ‘not nearly enough’

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A new £420m investment in tackling Britain’s pothole crisis is merely ‘a drop in the ocean’ – according to road safety charity, IAM RoadSmart.

While the figure is welcome, it doesn’t go nearly far enough to dealing with this long-term and major issue, the charity revealed this week, after the recent budget saw Chancellor Philip Hammond announce the cash injection for the country’s beleaguered roads, alongside a £28.8bn fund to upgrade England’s motorways.

Mr Hammond announced £25.5bn for Highways England for major road upgrades between 2020 and 2025 and an extra £3.5bn of funding allocated to major local routes, under the jurisdiction of local councils. The £420m for potholes is on top of an existing fund of almost £300m.

However just three months ago IAM RoadSmart conducted a survey of over 7,000 of its members, finding how disillusioned they had become with Britain’s rotten roads.

Forty-seven per cent – over 3,400 respondents – said they had experienced damage to their car, commercial vehicle, motorbike or bicycle or personal injury as a result of hitting a pothole. Around 90 per cent had spotted a deterioration of some level in the roads they use, with just over 50 per cent rating the state of their roads as ‘much worse’ in the past three years, and 38 per cent rating them ‘worse.’

Eighty-one per cent – close to 6,000 people – said they have noticed ‘many more’ potholes in the past three years, adding in the 13 per cent who have seen ‘a few more,’ that gives a total of 94 per cent who report more potholes. More than 56 per cent said they have to take avoiding action on every journey to dodge potholes, while 27 per cent said they have to steer around a pothole every day.

Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Extra money is always welcome but when it arrives unpredictably for one year at a time it does little to help attack the pothole problem.”

HOW POTHOLES WORK LOCALLY

leeds council has a statutory duty to maintain the highway in a safe condition. The council regularly inspects the highway network, in accordance with its Safety Surveys Policy and Defect Risk Register. How often they do it depends on how often the footway or roads are used and if anything needs attention. To report a pothole, or damaged pavement, visit wakefield.gov.uk with the street name and area, location on the street, a description of the defect, and your name and contact number. Unless the damage poses grave danger, reports made out of normal working hours will be investigated the next working day.