Leeds pothole 'safety hazard' reports rise by 60 per cent as more than 13,000 reported in 2023

Leeds City council will be urged to do more to patch up the city’s roads after figures showed a rise in accidents and compensation payouts linked to potholes.
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The council will face claims it is not doing enough to tackle the issue at a meeting next week.

But the local authority has pointed out that reduced funding from central government has hit the budget for repairing damaged roads and pavements.

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A white paper motion from the Conservative group said the number of potholes reported in Leeds had risen by almost 60 per cent in the last five years, with 13,722 reports last year alone.

Reports of potholes have risen by 60 per cent in Leeds.Reports of potholes have risen by 60 per cent in Leeds.
Reports of potholes have risen by 60 per cent in Leeds.

The motion, for discussion at full council on Wednesday (March 20), said: “There were more than 300 accidents relating to potholes in 2023, compared to an average of 190 between 2019 and 2022, and compensation paid out to those affected by potholes has also nearly doubled in recent years.

“Estimates suggest there is a mean average of 19.5 years backlog in highways maintenance and it would take £288m to bring all roads up to an acceptable standard.”

The motion, tabled by Conservative group leader Coun Alan Lamb, said almost £18m for resurfacing works was provided to the council in 2023 from the government’s City Regions Sustainable Transport Settlement.

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It said: “But the council should be investing more of its own money in improving the condition of the city’s roads.”

The motion calls on the council to address disparities between the time it takes to fix potholes in different parts of the city.

It said: “Potholes create safety hazards and misery for road users, cause damage to vehicles, and cost the council thousands of pounds in compensation payouts to those affected.”

Helen Hayden, the council’s executive member for sutainable development and infrastructure, said spending on highways maintenance had been hit by rising inflation and reduced government funding.

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Coun Hayden said: “In Leeds we are working in the context of £2.7bn worth of government cuts to our budget and that of course has an impact on what we as a council can do.

“However, keeping the road network in the best condition we can in the face of government budget cuts is critical, which is why this administration continues to invest extra local funding into our network.

“We have a robust asset management system in place in Leeds to monitor and consider works on the highway, with a substantial programme of preventative maintenance works each year which aims to prolong the life of roads and help prevent potholes forming.”

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