Laura Sharman 01 August 2016

Figures show rise in call-outs for pothole-related damage

The number of vehicles being damaged by potholes has more than doubled in the past decade, according to new figures released by the RAC.

The number of pothole-related call-outs to the motoring group has increased by 125% from 2006 and 2016, suggesting road surfaces have deteriorated ‘substantially’ over this time period.

The RAC Pothole Index showed 0.9% of call-outs were due to damage such as broken shock absorbers or faulty suspension springs in the 12 months to June, compared to 0.4% over the same period to June 2006.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “Our analysis paints a very disappointing picture which unequivocally confirms what most road users already know, which is that the condition of our local roads has deteriorated drastically in the last decade.

‘This analysis suggests that the quality of the UK’s roads suffered a steady decline from the start of 2007 through to the end of 2009, presumably due to lack of investment in maintenance and resurfacing during worsening economic times. Since then, injections of short-term funding have addressed the immediate aftermath of periods of extreme weather but have not been sufficient to tackle the underlying problem.’

Mr Bizley is calling for ‘bold and imaginative action’ to improve the condition of local roads, warning existing funding arrangements are too complex.

The Local Government Association (LGA) said councils are fixing potholes of a rate of one every 15 seconds, but a ‘huge disparity’ in funding is hindering efforts to improve local roads.

Cllr Peter Box, the LGA’s transport spokesman, said: ‘Councils face a £12bn backlog of road repairs which would already take more than a decade to clear. Current funding levels mean councils are only able to keep pace with patching up our roads and filling potholes rather than carrying out more cost-effective and long-term improvements.

‘Long-term and consistent investment in local road maintenance is desperately needed from government to improve road conditions for motorists and cyclists.’

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