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Pothole Damage To Vehicles Reaches 5-Year High

The number of vehicles damaged by potholes has reached a five-year high according to new data from the AA.

Research shows that the AA dealt with 631,852 pothole-related incidents in 2023 – a higher figure than any year since 2018.

The new Pothole Partnership, formed by the AA, the National Motorcyclists Council (NMC), British Cycling, IAM RoadSmart, the British Motorcyclists Federation and manufacturer JCB, has unveiled plan to help tackle the issue.

It called for local authorities to limit the practice of temporary pothole repairs or patches and focus on permanent repairs as soon as possible. It also wants all local authorities and contractors to adhere to UK-wide repair and inspection standards, and report annually on the repairs undertaken.

Since taking power in 2010, the Conservatives have repeatedly cut local government funding, which has led to a depletion in spending power for key services, including local infrastructure such as road maintenance.

Analysis from the Institute for Government earlier this year found that local authority spending power – the amount of money authorities have to spend from government grants, council tax and business rates – fell by 17.5% between 2009/10 and 2019/20.

In November, the government announced that £8.3bn in redirected HS2 funds to would be spent on fixing the UK’s pothole backlog. While the funding represents a significant increase, a survey from the Asphalt Industry Alliance in March found that more than £14bn in central government funding is needed to fix the backlog of repairs following years of underinvestment.

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The Pothole Partnership said works using the £8.3bn fund should be accelerated and called for increasing spending in England in the first three years. It also wants central and local government to guarantee ring-fencing of all road maintenance funding to help deliver innovations that enable permanent repairs.

The body called for “full transparency” from local authorities on their roads repair backlog, categorised by potholes, patching works and road resurfacing.

Edmund King, AA president, said: “Last year AA patrols dealt with more than 600,000 pothole-related incidents, which on a national scale will have cost drivers almost half a billion pounds.

“Currently, we often have a vicious circle of pothole formed, damage caused, pothole patched, pothole reappears with more damage caused – when what we need are more permanent repairs. Potholes are the number one concern for 96% of drivers and can be fatal for those on two wheels, so hopefully pressure from the Pothole Partnership will lead to permanent repairs.”

Craig Carey-Clinch, executive director of the NMC, said: “The situation is becoming ever more acute for motorcyclists. Potholes and other road surface-related defects are already shown to be extremely dangerous for motorcycle riders. The same pothole that damages a car could prove fatal to a rider. Action is needed now to urgently clear the backlog of repairs. The NMC fully supports the Pothole Partnership and urges the government to front load the £8.3bn that has been announced. The problem is now, not in seven or nine years’ time.”

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Source: E&T

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