Leading article: Potholes and pitfalls

If it seems to you, as you go about your business, that the road surfaces are more treacherous than they used to be, your bike or car tyres are not deceiving you. The average carriageway, it is reported, is now punctuated by a pothole every 120 yards. That is 30 per cent more than there were just one year ago. The icy winter, repeated utility works and council cash shortages are all to blame.

But the source of these figures is not exactly disinterested. Step forward the Asphalt Industry Alliance, representing the UK's road-builders. The more potholes, from their point of view, the better. Or rather, the more potholes deemed to need filling, the better. At present rates of progress, they calculate, there is work for a decade or more. But there is a school of thought that regards a pothole as a cheap means of speed control. In that case, perhaps our local authorities could dispense with some of the cameras. Either potholes or cameras, we say, but not both.