The RAC’s quarterly ‘pothole index’ has revealed there were a total of 4,091 call-outs between April and June for damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs or distorted wheels – faults which they believe were most likely caused by potholes.
The RAC has urged the Department for Transport to work with the Treasury to ring-fence a proportion of fuel duty receipts over a sustained period to fund a large-scale repairing of the UK’s roads.
The RAC calculates that if 2p a litre from fuel duty were directly invested into local roads over a period of 10 years in addition to current funding, this would give councils sufficient resource to eliminate the backlog in repairs and preventative maintenance.
During the recent winter months, the UK was hit with the ‘Beast from the East’ and Storm Emma, which the RAC say has contributed to the high figures.
RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: ‘We had obviously hoped the number of pothole-related breakdowns attended by our patrols would drop in the second quarter as the first three months of the year had seen the third highest first-quarter figure recorded since 2006. However, given the extreme weather towards the end of Q1, we perhaps should not be that surprised the Q2 figures are worse than normal.
‘The overall quality of our roads should be getting better, not worse. Any pothole could at best cause expensive damage to a vehicle, motorbike or bicycle and at worst lead to a fatal accident, with motorcyclists and cyclists at particular risk. Every pothole capable of causing an accident or damage needs to be fixed quickly so it no longer represents a danger to road users.
‘Councils, and those responsible for maintaining the UK’s roads, are obliged to carry out routine inspections of roads, but they cannot be expected to detect every single defect as soon as it develops. We need road users therefore to play their part by reporting potholes and other road surface defects as soon as they become aware of them so they can be repaired in a timely manner.’
Earlier this year, the Government announced a £100m pothole fund, which was criticised by The Local Government Association (LGA).
Cllr Martin Tett, the LGA’s transport spokesman said: ‘The funding announced will provide just over 1% of what is needed to tackle our current £9.3bn local roads repair backlog,’
Read our report below into the pothole crisis.