Lack of funds ‘causing catastrophic conditions on UK’s roads’

14th February 2013

Vast stretches of roads across the UK are faced being left in a "catastrophic" condition as local authorities struggle to keep on top of the nation's widespread pothole problem.

Defects on roads are seemingly popping up all over the country, with the Local Government Association (LGA) believing the issue is a result of a lack of funds leaving the hands of councils tied.

Councillor Peter Box, who is the chairman of the LGA transport board, has gone as far as to claim that local authorities have been under funded by the central government for decades when it comes to the amount of cash provided for road maintenance strategies.

As if a lack of funds for patching up already developed potholes was not enough of a concern, the LGA went on to point out that Britain's appalling weather conditions over the past few years is causing even more defects to appear.

All of this is coming together and resulting in drivers being tasked with trying to navigate around miles of road that have been left in a dangerous condition.

Councillor Box highlighted as much, when he stated: "Under funding by Whitehall, severe winters and last year's widespread flooding has left large swathes of our roads in disrepair, with many councils struggling to move beyond simply patching up a deteriorating network."

Recent research into the state off the UK's road network as a result of the ongoing 'pothole epidemic' has acknowledged just how serious the problem is getting.

For one, the well-known breakdown organisation the AA has questioned 22,827 of its members and found that a third of them had suffered some damage to their vehicles as a result of colliding with a pothole.

Motorists from Scotland had suffered the worst from dangerous road conditions, if the study is anything to go by, with 44 per cent of respondents from north of the border reporting such problems as damaged wheels, on top of issues with tyre and steering alignment.

Drivers in the north of England and the south-east did not fare much better though, as more than a third of motorists from each region respectively had admitted to suffering pothole-related damage to their beloved set of wheels.

Looking into the issue from a nationwide perspective, AA president Edmund King stressed: "The fact that one third of our members have had their car damaged by potholes is a damning indictment of the state of our roads – they're a national embarrassment."

Separate research by consumer watchdog Which? does not make for much better reading.

According to statistics released by the organisation, local councils in England and Wales had to pay out a grand total of £22.8 million in compensation to road users for pothole-related damage in 2012 alone.

Looking into this particular study, Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, underlined: "Potholes are a menace for all road users.

"With temperatures plummeting this week and the bitter weather conditions set to continue, the backlog of repairs could grow again. Drivers should help themselves and everyone else on the road by pointing out potholes to the local council."

To report a hazardous pothole to a local council, Which? recommends logging on to a local authority's website and establishing exactly which council is responsible for maintaining the dangerous stretch of road.

However, councillor Box is concerned that a long-term improvement to the UK's road network cannot be fulfilled until councils are "increased and consistent funding" to invest in resurfacing strategies around their constituency.

Need assistance with pothole damage or tyre advice? ATS Euromaster is here to help.

Posted by The LGA has given its opinions on the UK’s ongoing ‘pothole epidemic’