New survey reports 59% increase in potholes on UK roads
Published today (31 March), the study confirms a marked deterioration in local road conditions, prompting the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) chairman to call on the Government to invest now to prevent the repair bill rising further.
The ALARM Survey gathers information directly from local authority highway departments across England and Wales who are responsible for 95% of the road network. The total number of potholes filled over the last year reached 2,202,000, representing an increase of 59% over the previous year.
Three years of severe winter weather have revealed the fragile condition of the local road network, with road surfaces around the country deteriorating visibly to a serious degree. All but one of the ALARM Survey participants reported that the prolonged freeze of early 2010 had a detrimental effect on their roads.
Most authorities in England and Wales were unable to make good the damage caused at the beginning of 2010 before the snow fell again at the end of the year. The situation was better in London where two thirds of authorities did manage to complete repairs on their roads before freezing conditions set in again.
The recent Budget saw the Government set aside an extra £100m for pothole repairs but local authorities continue to report an annual shortfall in the highway maintenance budget they receive from central government. This year it amounts to £895m; an increase of 12% on last year’s shortfall.
AIA chairman, Colin Loveday, said: 'The annual shortfall in budget has increased this year and spending review cuts translate to a potential loss of another £440m over the next four years. The additional £200m announced in February and March this year is welcome but if the Government wants to save the country money it should be investing in local roads now to save a massive repair bill later on.'
The AA also commented on the research, with president Edmund King saying: 'Deteriorating road condition is a serious problem that the motorist clearly wants to be resolved. The ALARM figures show that £100m here and there, although welcome, simply isn’t going to fix a problem of this scale. Lack of preventative maintenance and harsh winter weather over three years has clearly taken its toll, with our members reporting a marked deterioration in road condition.
'We have to keep up the battle against this blight, which damages cars and risks road safety, especially for those on two wheels.'
The ALARM Survey report is available to download from www.alarm-survey.co.uk