IAM RoadSmart has expressed concern over new figures released today that show the number of potholes repaired by local authorities last year fell by a fifth.
New figures from the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) annual survey of councils show that 1.5 million potholes were filled in 2019/20, compared with 1.9 million in the previous 12 months. Getting all roads back into a “reasonable, steady state” would cost £11.14 billion and take 11 years.
Previous surveys of more than 7,000 IAM RoadSmart members showed a clear majority (88%) thought the condition of our roads had deteriorated and over half those surveyed (56%) said they had to take avoiding action on every journey to dodge potholes.
Nearly half (over 3,400 respondents) said they had experienced damage to their vehicle as a result of hitting a pothole. Some 27% said they needed to steer around a pothole every day.
The UK’s largest road safety charity recently welcomed the £2.5 billion shot-in-the-arm for filling the huge backlog of potholes – but warned at the time of the budget announcement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak in March this year that a long-term plan is urgently needed to cure the problem for good.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Pothole damage is not just inconvenient and expensive, it is a massive safety concern.
Now is not the time to divert essential local authority resources away from the number one priority of keeping communities safe and cared for. However, drivers and riders pay a premium through their taxes for investment in roads and any long-term diversion of funds will cost more in the long run. Local authorities must consider now the resources that will be needed to restore the UK’s roads, so that when traffic volumes return to their normal levels, the road network can play its part in getting the economy moving again.”