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2 million potholes repaired last year

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Over £100m was spent filling potholes in England and Wales last year, and over £15m paid out in compensation to those injured or their vehicles damaged, according to new figures from the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance survey, published today.
Potholes are a huge concern of cyclists on rural lanes
Potholes are a huge concern of cyclists on rural lanes

The report reveals that over 2 million potholes were filled in England and Wales last year, similar to previous years.

However, it's not all bad news: the budget shortfall required to repair the roads properly has fallen for the first time in years, thanks to more local authorities opting to invest more cash in long term maintenance over the last year.

But the amount required as a one-off investment to bring roads up to standard has still risen to £12bn. 

Although the Government has made some extra cash available to local authorities to repair roads in the short term, there is still a huge backlog of crumbling roads which need to be resurfaced or rebuilt to avoid more potholes forming in future.

CTC’s Fill That Hole website and iPhone app enables people to report potholes wherever they find them – these are then sent directly to local councils for repair. Funding from the Department for Transport will mean an Android app and updated iPhone app will be launched in the next few weeks.

CTC supports the Department's Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme, which recommends taking a longer term approach to maintenance - spending more on resurfacing rather than fixing potholes. However, they also must ensure that dangerous defects are rectified. 

CTC's members are still greatly concerned about the state of the roads - while investment has increased in major roads, the minor road network - where 82% of cycling takes place - continues to deteriorate. Poor road surfaces make cycling less comfortable, and can cause serious injuries and even deaths.

Chris Peck
CTC Policy Coordinator

Cyclists are most susceptible to dangerous road surfaces with several recent deaths involving potholes, including that of Martyn Uzzell, who was riding from Land's End to John o'Groats when he was thrown into the path of an oncoming car by a pothole in North Yorkshire.

CTC's solutions for how to do maintenance better

Local authorities can improve the way they deal with road maintenance by:

-          Inspecting roads with cyclists’ in mind, paying closest attention to the area up to 2m from the kerb, where cyclists are most likely to be riding;

-          Taking particularly note of the risks posed by longitudinal cracks and ironwork defects, such as drainage gullies and seams where utility works have been reinstated;

-          Taking into account the fact that 82% of the distance cycled is on minor roads, whereas only 45% of car traffic uses minor roads, and therefore doing more to deal with defects on these minor roads, which are usually placed at the bottom of the maintenance hierarchy;

-          Taking a longer term approach to road maintenance, and planning, in the long term, what needs to be done to improve conditions for cycling, and reinstating/repainting roads with more space for cycling.

Although the Government has made extra funding available to local authorities to repair roads, there is still a huge backlog of crumbling roads which need to be resurfaced or rebuilt to avoid more potholes forming in future. Reporting road defects to local authorities will help them understand where concerns are greatest, and where they should prioritise

 

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