Pothole crisis costing SMEs £52bn, finds new research
A new study by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) has found that there are an estimated 2.2 million potholes on UK roads – up by a third – which have left one in five local roads in poor condition, with less than five years of life remaining.
The cost of filling in potholes last year was £113m, with an extra £32m paid out in compensation claims – 50% more than in 2011 – while the cost of staff time spent on claims amounted to over £13m.
Commenting on the alliance’s findings, AIA chairman Alan Mackenzie said that the DfT’s Potholes Review was a welcome initiative but added: ‘The additional £215m announced in the autumn to help improve local road condition over the next couple of years doesn’t even cover the £338m of damage repair needed as a result of last year’s rainfall.’
He added: ‘It’s time to stop the rot. The Government needs to make sufficient funding available now that will enable local authorities to get their roads back into a condition that will quickly and directly boost the economy, help businesses and improve local communities.’
The ALARM Survey 2013 comes as AA Insurance reports a doubling in pothole claims over the last year, with a third of AA members’ cars damaged by potholes in the last two years.
Meanwhile the latest AA Populus poll shows that local roads in Scotland and Yorkshire and Humberside are the worst, with more than 40% of AA members reporting condition as poor, very poor or terrible.
Drivers in Northern Ireland, Wales and London reported roads to be in best condition. But, even there, more than 50% of respondents only rated them as fair.
Edmund King, AA president, said: ‘This spring our patrols are telling us that potholes are popping up faster than daffodils. This reflects the effects of very wet and frosty weather on poor road surfaces. These AA findings are deeply worrying and show that UK drivers are once again experiencing a bad pothole season after a lull last spring – perhaps with worse to come. The slight let-up in potholes this time last year may have been just a blip in the annual pothole blight that seems to beset us each spring.’
He added: ‘Ring-fenced finance must be found to plug an increasing gap in highway budgets – otherwise drivers and local authorities will end up paying more to repair damage that could have been prevented. We urge drivers to report potholes to highways authorities to allow them to take action and prevent road users from being endangered and their vehicles suffering damage.’