London, the Midlands and North East are the worst areas for road condition across England, a study has found as the scale of Britain’s pothole epidemic was laid bare.
Some 21 per cent of roads in those three regions are classified as having a ‘poor’ structural condition, meaning they have less than five years of life remaining.
Following behind was Yorkshire and the South West, both on 19 per cent, and the North West on 18 per cent. The East was at 14 per cent and South East at 16 per cent.
The Asphalt Industry Alliance’s report also found the cost of clearing the UK pothole backlog has reached a record high of £14billlion – up nearly £1.5billion on last year.
It would take 11 years for local authorities to fix every crumbling road in England and Wales, up from nine years in 2022, according to the survey.
The total number of potholes filled reported in this year’s survey has decreased by 16 per cent from 1.7million reported for the last two years to 1.4million in England and Wales
Last year the trade body found it would cost councils £12.64billion to fill in all potholes – but since then the repair bill has risen by 11 per cent to £14.02billion.
The Daily Mail is campaigning for an end to the nation’s pothole plague, which is costing drivers millions in repair bills and putting cyclists’ lives at risk.
Overall, the AIA found there were 8,000 fewer miles of road classified as ‘good’ compared with last year, a fall of 4 per cent.
And one in every nine miles of local road is now in ‘poor condition’ and likely to require maintenance in the next 12 months.
The total shortfall in carriageway maintenance budgets reported in England and Wales is £1.3billion, equivalent to a funding gap of £7.7million per authority – a 20 per cent rise on 2022
The road network has seen further decline in condition, with the proportion of roads classified as ‘poor’ rising in both England and Wales over the past year – although it is down in London
Structural condition of the local road network
- Good (15+ years of life remaining) – 51% or 104,745 miles
- Adequate (5-15 years of life remaining) – 31% or 63,668 miles
- Poor (0-4 years of life remaining) – 18% or 36,918 miles
Despite the deteriorating state of the nation’s roads, only 1.4million potholes were filled in 2022/3, down from 1.7million in the previous year.
The AIA’s Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey found shortfalls in pothole repair budgets among local authorities had reached a record high.
Councils in England and Wales said they only received two-thirds of what they needed during the current financial year to stop local roads further deteriorating, the ALARM survey found.
Meanwhile, the compensation paid out for accidents and damage caused by poorly maintained roads has risen from £8.9million to £11.6million – despite the number of submitted claims falling.
Local authority highway budget shortfalls in 2022/23 were up to record levels, the study found
This could be due to costly claims submitted in previous years along with a rise in repair costs driven by soaring inflation and supply shortages.
The Daily Mail is campaigning for an end to the nation’s pothole plague
Last week Chancellor Jeremy Hunt pledged to put aside an extra £200million for councils to spend on pothole repairs in a boost for the Mail’s campaign.
But industry experts, campaigners and politicians warned more cash is needed to tackle the scourge.
Rick Green, chairman of the AIA, said: ‘Potholes and the condition of our local roads remain key issues for the public and the Chancellor went some way to recognising this in his spring Budget.
‘But the additional £200million one-off payment for local roads in England, while welcome, is just not enough. It represents around 20 per cent of the average shortfall in English local authorities’ annual budgets and will do little to improve overall structural conditions and stem further decline.’
The total amount paid in claims has risen by 30 per cent to £11.6million, the report said
Tory MP Greg Smith, who sits on the Commons transport committee, added: ‘We have seen decades and decades of patchwork repairs and the reality is patchwork doesn’t work and we need to resurface Britain’s roads.’
David Renard, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, said: ‘Councils work tirelessly to repair our local roads, which are the bedrock of our economy.
‘To improve the condition of our roads, the Government should provide a funding increase for councils, including meeting new inflationary pressures.
‘This would help councils focus on long-term investment in existing roads, delivering preventative maintenance and reducing the occurrence of potholes in the first place, which are more expensive to repair.’
Tell us about the worst potholes near you and we might FIX IT FOR FREE!
We want you to nominate the largest pothole in your area…and then we might pop round to repair it for free!
MailOnline and This is Money readers can send pictures of the worst potholes near where they live and you will be automatically entered into the draw to have it permanently removed.
When a winner is chosen, JCB will send its crater-fixing PotholePro machine to repair it.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org following the five steps below:
1. Send an email with the subject heading ‘POTHOLE’.
2. Please attach an image no bigger than 2MB of the pothole.
3. Include a brief description of the pothole and just how bad you think it is.
4. Tell us its whereabouts, including the road name and closest city, town or village.
5. Include your full name and a telephone number in case we need to contact you to find out further details about the pothole you’ve nominated – and potentially fix it.
We will choose a selection of the worst potholes you’ve nominated and put it to a reader vote on which one should be repaired by JCB’s PotholePro free of charge.
Personal details will not be shared with any third parties.
> Find out more about the JCB PotholePro and how it could fix a road near you
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