Pothole 'every 120 yards' on Britain's roads

Highways would take 15 years to repair

Jonathan Brown
Thursday 30 April 2009 00:00
Comments

Whether there are now enough holes to fill the Albert Hall might never be known, but the number plaguing British roads has soared by 32 per cent since last year and the average road now boasts a pothole every 120 yards.

A report reveals that the condition of bitumen under local authority care has deteriorated in most regions beyond the benchmark of 4,000 holes endured by Blackburn motorists in John Lennon's 1967 song, "A Day in the Life".

English councils filled 5,252 holes each on average last year but because of an £8.5bn funding shortfall it will take nearly 13 years at the present rate of maintenance to get them all patched up. In Wales, it will take 15.6 years before councils have repaired all the damage.

It costs £65 to fill one pothole, on average, and it would cost £47m per local authority to clear the problem. The annual Alarm report by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), which represents the road building industry, found eight out of 10 councils felt the state of disrepair was so severe that it posed a threat to drivers, cyclists and motorcyclists, and caused more emissions because of stop-start traffic conditions.

The AIA chairman, Mike Linley, said: "Free-flowing traffic on unobstructed roads is the most environmentally friendly and the safest. Yet with a road opening or pothole every 120 yards, free-flowing traffic seems like an impossible dream."

Motoring organisations said more heavy flooding combined with last winter's freeze meant the situation was likely to get worse. The AA said the state of the roads had contributed to the number of insurance claims tripling.

The AA president, Edmund King, said 2,000 drivers had contacted the organisation in February because of pothole damage – nearly three times as many as the previous year. He said the Government invested only 20 per cent of the £46bn it received each year from the road tax back into roads and called for a building programme focused on roads to kick start the economy.

"Now is the time to follow Barack Obama's example and pump in the cash to restore UK roads, create jobs during the recession and help prevent cash-strapped local authorities haemorrhaging more public money. We need to break out of this vicious cycle of decline on our roads," said Mr King.

The growing number of utility trenches is also contributing to roads deterioation as they often lead to potholes. The number of trenches in each English local authority area averaged 13,212, while the figure for Wales was 4,613.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in