Britain's pothole blight pushes vehicle breakdowns to a record high

Britain’s pothole blight pushes vehicle breakdowns to a record high, RAC says

  • The cost of fixing potholes in England and Wales is estimated to be £14billion

Vehicle breakdowns caused by potholes have reached a record high, says the RAC.

The motoring organisation said it received 5,978 call-outs to breakdowns attributed to poor surfaces on local roads between July and September.

The figure is the highest for that quarter since RAC records began in 2006 and represents a 46 per cent increase on the 4,085 incidents in the same period last year.

Common problems caused by potholes include damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs and distorted wheels.

The cost of bringing pothole-plagued local roads in England and Wales up to scratch has been estimated at £14billion.

An aerial view of Bradford Avenue in Bolton, Greater Manchester, which is scarred by potholes

A look at the appalling road surfaces in ‘Pothole Crescent’ in Witham, Essex

Victoria Jones, 51, says potholes in her street in Witham, Essex, are ‘dreadful’

St Nicholas Manor development in Cramlington, Northumberland, where a resident said there are a host of problems including ‘crater’ sized holes in the roads

Potholes pictured in Cramlington, Northumberland

Garage repair data analysed by the RAC shows that drivers are paying an average of £440 if their car needs fixing after hitting a pothole for any damage more serious than a puncture.


RAC head of policy Simon Williams said: ‘Our analysis of pothole-related breakdowns is sadly once again showing that the substandard state of the country’s local roads is causing a world of pain for drivers, let alone those on two wheels.

‘Fortunately, the Government has promised £8.3billion for local highways authorities over a five-year period, which should give them the certainty of funding they need to be able to plan longer term road maintenance work.’

Last month, the Government said it will provide the £8.3billion to ‘fix the blight of potholes on roads up and down the country’ after scrapping the HS2 rail project north of Birmingham.

In March, the Mail secured a victory in the campaign to end the ‘pothole plague’ when the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt announced an additional £200million is to be ring-fenced for councils to spend on improving our roads.

The amount represents around a 20 per cent boost in funds to fix roads in towns, cities and rural areas.

A Department for Transport spokesman said: ‘The decision to redirect HS2 funding to other transport projects means that an extra £8.3billion has been freed up to help local authorities fill potholes and resurface roads, which is on top of the near £1billion the Government already provides on average every year.

‘We are investing a record amount of funding into tackling potholes and resurfacing roads, which will see highway maintenance funding to local authorities almost doubled over the next decade.’

Potholes are formed when water enters cracks in the road, freezes and then expands. The Local Government Association, which represents councils – who are responsible for local roads – was approached for a comment.

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