William Eichler 13 May 2022

Government to penalise companies for ‘plague of potholes’

Government to penalise companies for ‘plague of potholes’ image
Image: ronstik/Shutterstock.com.

The Government will introduce new measures to penalise companies responsible for leaving potholes on the roads after carrying out street works.

The new law aims preventing thousands of potholes being left behind by utility companies nationwide, and will ensure more roads are resurfaced to a high standard.

Utility companies are on average failing 9% of the inspections that are carried out, and the worst performing utility company is failing a significant 63% of its inspections.

A new performance-based inspections regime will be introduced, where the worst performing utility companies whose road works fail to meet strict standards will face financial penalties. These companies will go on to be inspected more regularly by local authorities.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘The plague of potholes is the menace of our roads. That’s why I’m ensuring companies who create them and leave roads in a poor state can be held to account more easily – protecting drivers from unfair repair costs.’

Councils and road authorities paid out more than £12m in compensation to motorists whose cars were damaged by potholes between 2018 and 2021, according to research by What Car?.

A recent ALARM survey, carried out by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), found that there was a £12.64bn repair backlog. This represents an increase by almost a quarter (23%) on last year’s figure and amounts to £61,700 for every mile of local road.

Roads minister Baroness Vere commented: ‘I’m sure all drivers have felt frustrated by the potholes we see on some of our roads, which can damage our vehicles and make journeys a misery. That’s why we’re changing the law to ensure companies won’t be able to get away with poor quality road works for much longer.

‘The changes we’re bringing in will also help to keep motorists updated with live traffic updates – easing congestion. This is a clear victory for motorists and all road users who will be able to enjoy smoother, safer journeys.’

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