More than 100,000 dangerous potholes on local roads that have been reported to Britain’s councils currently remain unfixed, as authorities buckle under a lack of government funding.
A website setup by a cycling organisation has been logging potholes reported by drivers and cyclists and listed the councils with the biggest backlogs of repairs in their areas.
According to the research, Surrey has the most cratered local roads in the country – and it has almost twice as many reported potholes as any other council.
Surrey has more reported potholes unrepaired than any other region, new figures show
The total number of reported potholes yet to be repaired across the UK currently stands at a whopping 100,249.
The shocking figure was revealed by vehicle breakdown firm 24/7 Vehicle Rescue, which analysed data complied by pothole action site, FillThatHole.org.uk.
The website, run by Cycling UK, allows people – who are predominantly cyclists well-placed to spot the holes – to report potholes that damage vehicles and potentially cause injury to road users.
The records are kept up-to-date and shared with local authorities. A notification is then sent when one of the craters has been filled in.
Of all the UK councils, Surrey that has the biggest backlog of unfixed potholes.
There are currently more than 6,700 reported examples of them on roads in the region that pose a risk today.
Top 10 councils with the most reported potholes that haven’t been filled
1. Surrey County Council – 6733
2. Kent County Council – 3194
3. Hertfordshire County Council – 3124
4. Essex County Council – 2989
5. Lancashire County Council – 2703
6. Glasgow City Council – 2486
7. Buckinghamshire County Council – 2484
8. Hampshire County Council – 2411
9. Oxfordshire County Council – 2345
10. Cheshire East Council – 2306
YOU CAN FIND FIGURES FOR YOUR LOCAL COUNCIL AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE
Source: FillThatHole.org.uk,figures taken on 29/01/18 and accounts for local roads (not major trunk roads)
A Surrey County Council spokesman told This is Money: ‘We’re working incredibly hard to improve Surrey’s roads – potholes are fixed at a rate of around 260 a day – but as Surrey has some of the country’s busiest roads, wear and tear really takes its toll.’
The next biggest headache is in Kent, which has 3,194 logged potholes to contend with just ahead of the 3,124 ruts littering Hertfordshire County Council’s tarmac at the moment.
A full list of councils and their unfixed potholes is available at the bottom of this page.
A spokesman for Fill That Hole said the figures may be skewed by the number of cyclists in the region, but said it was a strong snapshot of the state of the nation’s poorly maintained roads.
‘As cyclists account for a very small per cent of all road users, we suspect that our pothole statistics are just the tip of the iceberg,’ he said.
‘We know the scale of roads needing repairs is massive.
‘And this isn’t about pointing the finger at local authorities, or accusing them of not doing their jobs properly. We want to help councils to identify potholes promptly so that they can be scheduled for repair.
‘Highways authorities have a legal responsibility to ensure roads are in a safe condition. But they can only do so when they’re aware of the issues.’
Hertfordshire Council was third on the list with the most reported potholes still to repair, these signs put up by campaigners in Hemel Hempstead highlight people’s anger
The website was also quick to acknowledge that authorities currently have their budgets strangled by a lack of government funding.
In November, Chancellor Philip Hammond promised an additional £45 million fund to tackle potholes across England in 2017 and 2018. However, it appears that the injections of cash aren’t being split evenly between Highways England (responsible for major trunk roads in England) and local authorities.
Last week, the Local Government Council confirmed that it would only be provided with £21,000 per mile for the upkeep of routes across all English councils over five years between 2015 and 2020.
In comparison, the Government was providing £1.1m per mile to maintain its strategic road network over the same period – 52 times more than what local authorities are receiving.
Councils have had budgets slashed by the Government as part of austerity measures and with vital services to protect, they may be choosing not to spend money on fixing roads.
Surrey County Council told This is Money it could do more to catch up with the backlog of potholes it faces and reduce the impact of them if it had more financial support.
‘We face a £40m funding gap over the next five years and while our Operation Horizon project [its highway maintenance investment programme] has seen hundreds of miles of roads rebuilt to make them pothole-proof for at least a decade, we would like to do more which is why we think busier roads should get more government funding,’ the spokesman said.
Fill That Hole’s representative described the funding situation as the Government using a ‘sticking plaster to mend a broken leg’ and added ‘local authorities can only work with what they’re given’.
Philip Hammond promised a £45 million fund to tackle potholes in England this year, though it appears the money isn’t being split evenly between Highways England and local councils
Local councils deal with over 1 million potholes a year
A Confused.com report published in October last year found that a whopping 1,031,787 potholes were reported to local councils in 2016.
The average depth was said to be 40mm – big enough to damage tyres, alloy wheels and car suspension and likely to cause accidents if ridden into by cyclists and motorcyclists – something which resulted in £3.1 million in compensation being paid out to victims of potholes.
Added together, the nation’s pothole problem is 25 miles deep, the comparison site reported.
And an RAC report last week suggested the problem is only getting deeper, as it had tracked an 11 per cent increase in pothole-related breakdowns in the final three months of last year.
Ranjen Gohri, director of 24/7 Vehicle Rescue, said it had experienced a spike in pothole-linked breakdowns, similar to what the RAC had seen.
‘The figures aren’t going down. And they’ll only continue to rise as the Government continues to fail to invest in our road infrastructure,’ Mr Gohri said.
‘The underlying problems that cause the potholes are not being remedied.
‘They simply fill the hole as a temporary measure before this deeper defect returns with a vengeance a few months, or even weeks, later.
‘Yes, it’s more expensive and intrusive to repair the road properly, but the current approach is a false economy.’
Around 6,500 cyclists injured by potholes each year, says Cycling UK
Some 6,500 cyclists are injured by potholes each year, says Cycling UK
Cycling UK says around 6,500 cyclists are injured because of potholes each year in the UK.
Sam Jones, Campaigns Coordinator at the organisation said: ‘While the number of KSIs (Killed and Seriously Injured) due to defective road surfacing was thankfully down in 2015, the overall trend is worryingly on the up.
‘If the roads were in a fit state, there would be no need for cash-strapped councils to be paying out nor families across the country having to struggle with the loss of a loved one.
‘Rather than building new roads, the Government should adopt a ‘fix it first’ policy. The UK has an estimated £12 billion pothole problem that a £6 billion pothole fund is meant to fix by 2021.
‘If the Government was serious about mending our roads, it would reallocate funding from the £15 billion Road Investment Strategy and give local authorities the means to bring Britain’s roads into an acceptable condition.’
|AUTHORITY||REPORTED POTHOLES THAT HAVEN’T BEEN REPAIRED|
|Aberdeen City Council||353|
|Argyll and Bute Council||115|
|Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council||223|
|Bath and North East Somerset Council||402|
|Bedford Borough Council||23|
|Bedfordshire County Council||121|
|Birmingham City Council||1322|
|Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council||103|
|Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council||20|
|Borough of Poole Council||63|
|Bournemouth Borough Council||169|
|Bracknell Forest Borough Council||66|
|Bradford Metropolitan District Council||261|
|Bridgend County Borough Council||71|
|Brighton and Hove City Council||163|
|Bristol City Council||236|
|Buckinghamshire County Council||2484|
|Bury Metropolitan Borough Council||294|
|Caerphilly County Borough Council||66|
|Cambridgeshire County Council||1470|
|Carmarthenshire County Council||51|
|Central Bedfordshire Council||339|
|Ceredigion County Council||35|
|Cheshire County Council||0|
|Cheshire East Council||2306|
|Cheshire West and Chester Council||8|
|City and County of Swansea||173|
|City of London||122|
|City of York||165|
|Comhairle nan Eilean Siar||8|
|Conwy County Borough Council||100|
|Coventry City Council||395|
|Cumbria County Council||1516|
|Darlington Borough Council||0|
|Denbighshire County Council||307|
|Derby City Council||56|
|Derbyshire County Council||1004|
|Devon County Council||2301|
|Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council||137|
|Dorset County Council||427|
|Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council||185|
|Dumfries and Galloway Council||1045|
|Dundee City Council||199|
|Durham County Council||1|
|East Ayrshire Council||243|
|East Dunbartonshire Council||275|
|East Lothian District Council||205|
|East Renfrewshire Council||122|
|East Riding of Yorkshire Council||401|
|East Sussex County Council||950|
|Essex County Council||2989|
|Flintshire County Council||90|
|Glasgow City Council||2486|
|Gloucestershire County Council||1848|
|Halton Borough Council||71|
|Hammersmith and Fulham Council||4|
|Hampshire County Council||2411|
|Hartlepool Borough Council||0|
|Herefordshire County Council||594|
|Hertfordshire County Council||3124|
|Isle of Anglesey County Council||25|
|Isle of Wight Council||368|
|Kent County Council||3194|
|Kingston-upon-Hull City Council||151|
|Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council||242|
|Lancashire County Council||2703|
|Leeds City Council||1569|
|Leicester City Council||296|
|Leicestershire County Council||808|
|Lincolnshire County Council||1518|
|Liverpool City Council||779|
|London Borough of Barking and Dagenham||86|
|London Borough of Barnet||663|
|London Borough of Bexley||104|
|London Borough of Brent||364|
|London Borough of Bromley||261|
|London Borough of Croydon||979|
|London Borough of Ealing||255|
|London Borough of Enfield||137|
|London Borough of Hackney||363|
|London Borough of Harrow||161|
|London Borough of Havering||75|
|London Borough of Hillingdon||319|
|London Borough of Hounslow||436|
|London Borough of Islington||1|
|London Borough of Lambeth||926|
|London Borough of Merton||286|
|London Borough of Newham||108|
|London Borough of Redbridge||37|
|London Borough of Richmond upon Thames||420|
|London Borough of Sutton||37|
|London Borough of Tower Hamlets||248|
|Luton Borough Council||46|
|Manchester City Council||1218|
|Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council||24|
|Milton Keynes Council||333|
|Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council||131|
|Newcastle City Council||7|
|Newport City Council||56|
|Norfolk County Council||1387|
|North Ayrshire Council||80|
|North East Lincolnshire Council||99|
|North Lanarkshire Council||135|
|North Lincolnshire Council||89|
|North Somerset Council||822|
|North Tyneside Council||12|
|North Yorkshire County Council||1453|
|Northamptonshire County Council||1179|
|Northumberland County Council||7|
|Norwich City Council||64|
|Nottingham City Council||315|
|Nottinghamshire County Council||861|
|Oxfordshire County Council||2345|
|Pembrokeshire County Council||49|
|Perth and Kinross Council||200|
|Peterborough City Council||63|
|Plymouth City Council||305|
|Portsmouth City Council||51|
|Powys County Council||89|
|Reading Borough Council||76|
|Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council||0|
|Rhondda Cynon Taff County Borough Council||68|
|Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council||128|
|Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council||205|
|Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea||9|
|Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead||221|
|Rutland County Council||21|
|Salford City Council||156|
|Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council||91|
|Scottish Borders Council||114|
|Sheffield City Council||900|
|Shetland Islands Council||1|
|Shropshire County Council||386|
|Slough Borough Council||38|
|Somerset County Council||641|
|South Ayrshire Council||160|
|South Gloucestershire Council||866|
|South Lanarkshire Council||486|
|South Tyneside Council||0|
|Southampton City Council||527|
|Southend-on-Sea Borough Council||122|
|St Helens Council||134|
|Staffordshire County Council||1513|
|Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council||574|
|Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council||0|
|Stoke-on-Trent City Council||148|
|Suffolk County Council||1157|
|Sunderland City Council||5|
|Surrey County Council||6733|
|Swindon Borough Council||164|
|Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council||3|
|Telford and Wrekin Council||22|
|The City of Edinburgh Council||1576|
|The Royal Borough of Kingston-upon-Thames||455|
|Torfaen County Borough Council||20|
|Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council||433|
|Vale of Glamorgan Council||174|
|Waltham Forest Council||83|
|Wandsworth Borough Council||1074|
|Warrington Borough Council||441|
|Warwickshire County Council||1018|
|West Berkshire Council||478|
|West Dunbartonshire Council||109|
|West Lothian Council||66|
|West Sussex County Council||2112|
|Westminster City Council||734|
|Wiltshire County Council||1321|
|Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council||299|
|Wokingham Borough Council||149|
|Wolverhampton City Council||71|
|Worcestershire County Council||978|
|Wrexham County Borough Council||247|
|Source: FillThatHole.org.uk,figures taken on 29/01/18 (only accounts for local roads and not major trunk roads)|
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