Frustrated drivers face “worsening” road conditions as new research shows that people reported more than half a million potholes to councils for repair last year – but some of the most badly affected areas in Yorkshire appear to be improving.
The RAC obtained the data in Freedom of Information requests to the 212 councils responsible for roads in Britain
More than 512,000 potholes were reported to the 161 authorities which provided comparable figures, up 44 per cent on the 2015 figure of 356,000 potholes from 152 councils. After extrapolating the numbers to take account of councils unable to respond with data, the RAC believes the increase in pothole reports over two years is 33 per cent.
Pothole cash is “sticking plaster” for region’s crumbling roads
Although there were more than 152,900 reports in Yorkshire between 2014 and 2017, areas with some of the highest numbers have seen reports drop.
A full breakdown of regional statistics can be found below.
Damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs and distorted wheels are among the most common vehicle problems caused by potholes.
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Our own analysis of breakdown data shows the damage suffered by motorists is a constant source of frustration and expense, but the scale of the problem is obviously far greater than the numbers show.
"Perhaps motorists are more inclined to report pothole defects than they were a few years ago, but we believe the sheer size of the increase is further proof the condition of our roads is worsening.”
He added that the figures are “just the tip of the iceberg”.
The highest number of potholes in Yorkshire was in Kirklees, where 44,055 cases were reported in the time period, with the closest being Sheffield at 18,370 and 16,266 in North Yorkshire.
But between 2015 and 2017 the number of reports dropped in Sheffield from 5,799 to 2,468 – by 57 per cent – a possible effect of the council’s £2.2bn Streets Ahead project. In North Yorkshire, there was a 37 per cent drop from 4,146 to 2,604 reports.
Coun Don Mackenzie, the county council’s executive member for highways, said: “It doesn’t surprise me, since we’ve been investing more in highways maintenance since 2015.”
Adding that the Government contributed £13.7m to the cause, announced in the council’s recent budget, he “fully expects” to continue with the maintenance programme on the county’s roads, many of which are remote and exposed to bad weather.
Kirklees Council has seen a seven per cent drop in reports.
Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, said councils are fixing a pothole every 21 seconds but need more funding to “embark on the widespread improvement of our roads that is desperately needed”.
A Department for Transport spokeswoman said that the Government “is taking action, providing local authorities with more than £6.5 billion for roads maintenance and pothole repair in the six years to 2021”.
Yorkshire results in full
Kirklees - 44,055
Sheffield - 18,370
North Yorkshire - 16,266
Barnsley - 14,269
Hull - 13,747
East Riding - 8,496
Doncaster - 5,599
Bradford - 4,459
Calderdale - 4,264
York - 717 (2017 only)