Dominic Browne 13 February 2013

Third of drivers report damage from potholes

Councils chiefs have blamed ‘decades of under-funding’ and extreme weather for the state of Britain’s roads, after research found one in three drivers have suffered pothole damage to their vehicles in the last two years.

Commissioned by the AA, the poll of more than 22,000 drivers found 10% had experienced serious vehicular damage including having their steering knocked out of alignment, as the extent of the deterioration of the UK’s road network was laid bare.

Scotland came out worst from the survey, conducted this January by pollsters Populus, with 44% of Scottish drivers suffering pothole damage in the last two years, including damage to tyres and wheels.

The devolved nation was followed by the North West of England on 35%, with the North East, the South East and Yorkshire and Humberside close behind on 34%.

Edmund King, AA president, said: ‘The fact that one third of our members have had their car damaged by potholes is a damning indictment of the state of our roads – they’re a national embarrassment.

‘A decent road infrastructure must be the minimum requirement for a progressive 21st century country.’

The survey also revealed the impact of recent severe weather conditions and flooding, as insurance reports to AA from pothole damage doubled in January compared with the same month last year.

Cllr Peter Box, chair of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) economy and transport board, blamed the problem on decades of 'under-funding' and said many councils were ‘struggling to move beyond simply patching up a deteriorating network’.

He called on the Government to provide ‘increased and consistent funding’ for road maintenance to help tackle the problem.

Over the course of the parliament councils will have seen a 19% drop in highways maintenance funding, the LGA claims.

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