Twelve-year wait to repair UK’s pothole-ridden roads

Potholes left to grow as DfT underspends its budget
3 Apr, 2014 12:01am Jake-Aman Shah

More than two million potholes were filled last year but it will still take 12 years to clear the backlog

The existing UK pothole backlog will take 12 years for local authorities in England and Wales to clear, while motorists in London face a 14-year wait.

An estimated total outlay of £12 billion will be needed to get UK roads back into a reasonable state. That’s according to the annual study carried out by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA).

For the second consecutive year, over 2 million potholes were filled in England and Wales. However, record rainfall over the winter months limited the effectiveness of these efforts.

In addition, there is a significant shortfall in the budget needed to repair the potholes and return the roads into reasonable condition. The figure currently stands 20 per cent down on what is required due to local authorities spending more on maintenance to plug the previous year’s deficit.

8 per cent of UK roads in poor structural condition

The AIA has urged the Government to adopt an ‘invest to save’ policy, which should prevent further shortfalls and reduce the long term backlog in road repairs. This is based on the increased cost of filling potholes, versus resurfacing the road.

It currently costs over 20 times more per square metre to fill a pothole, than it does to resurface the road so investment in better roads could save significantly in long-term repair costs.

Also revealed was the sorry condition of the existing road network, with 18 per cent of UK roads in poor structural condition. This means that almost a fifth of the roads in England have less than five years of life remaining.

Compensation claims for damage to cars caused by bad roads have also increased by 20 per cent on 2013 figures. The average claim rate currently stands at 530 per local authority (excluding London) at a total cost of £31.6 million.

More on the UK's pothole plague...

• Pothole every mile on UK roads 
• Infographic highlights extent of pothole problem  

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its about time road tax was again used for repairing and building roads ! when thatcher changed it from road tax to car tax the money was able to be diverted everywhere ! other than the roads!

We have bad roads in Australia also,but I never hear of people having suspension problems,let alone actually making a claim against the gov't.Sounds really bad there in UK. Are European cars more likely to damage their suspension as here the vast majority of cars are Asain,mostly the Japanese and they're bullet proof.

The politicians never seem to bother dealing with stuff like this. It's always blamed on councils and the public can't make them fix stuff. They're more interested in installing speed bumps and painting cycle lanes.

It's probably time to do something about the quality of the materials we use for road surface. Our roads are considerably noisier than those on the continent, they wear out the tyres much quicker, cause cars to use more fuel and are prone to path holes due to their higher permeability.

Papers saying UK roads are resurfaced on average every 68 years!

VED should be based upon vehicle weight and size as well as emissions. After all if you want a bigger house you pay more Council Tax. Cars are already too big and heavy for vast majority of UK roads. Lower VED for narrower cars - will also benefit cyclists and other road users passing each other on A and B roads. Why does today's MINI have to be so huge? And don't say safety because that is a cop out message - more collisions could be avoided if the gap between cars was wider!

EV cars should have CO2 based on kWh/100km and UK power emissions.

Oh absolutely, I remember not too long ago a report on this fancy asphalt, it reduced road spray significantly, somthing you would think the UK would benefit from. But naturally the UK Government stated no chance on that, costs too much... just like the costs too much to resurface roads idea in austerity times, we'll reduce the money council's have, they will then reduce road maintenance because it costs more to fill potholes in... all so the PM can make a sound bite on austerity, despite the totally backward thinking on how to save money.

And these ministers can take us to war!