Government funding could reduce the number of potholes by 25 per cent

Source: The Telegraph

Without the promised four-year programme of investment, British motorists will be dodging more than 650,000 holes in the roads.

Road users could be forced to contend with more than 650,000 potholes across the country by 2030, new research has warned.

A study predicts that Britain will see a 16 per cent increase in fractured tarmac in 10 years’ time if the Government fails to invest a promised £500 million per year. In its manifesto for the December general election, the Conservative party vowed to spend £2 billion on “the biggest ever pothole-filling programme” Britain has seen. The party pledged to “improve the quality of our roads” with a four-year programme of £500 million of funding each year.

If spending remains at its current level, the number of potholes reported on UK roads will surge from 561,000 in 2019 to 651,000 by 2030, research from Cebr and Zurich UK claims. If the Government does fulfil its manifesto pledge, the additional funds would help to reduce the number of potholes across the country by just over 25 per cent in the next decade. In the past year, 17 miles of potholes were reported to local authorities..

Data from freedom of information (FOI) requests to local authorities suggests that the issue of potholes is most severe in the South East and Scotland, with more than 20,000 in London and 10,000 in Glasgow. 

The study predicts that in a decade’s time there will be 100,000 potholes in the South East, with London the city most affected. The capital is expected to contain more than 23,000 potholes by 2030, with Newcastle upon Tyne predicted to become the second most afflicted city in England, with 22,000 expected in a decade’s time.

The research also forecasts changing road use in the next decade. In 2015, cars drove a total of 226 billion miles on roads in England and Wales. By 2030, this figure is expected to reach 290 billion, putting even greater pressure on road infrastructure.

However, this could be offset by fewer air frost days, which are predicted to decline from 48 days to just 44 per year by 2030 as a result of climate change. Rod Penman, Head of Public Services at Zurich UK, said that the increase in pothole numbers is symptomatic “of a much wider and deep-rooted issue”.

He said: “It’s been getting worse simply because government funding and council resources have not been sufficient enough to cope with the magnitude of the issue. Across the board, councils will have lost almost 60p in every £1 of central government funding in the last decade, creating an unsustainable gap in their funding.”

He noted that potholes don’t just affect drivers, adding: “Potholes create far-reaching effects for pedestrians and cyclists who are most likely to incur the worst injuries. We welcome the government pledge to invest in this problem, however with our research suggesting potholes will increase without it, there’s still a lot to do.”


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