13 years and £12bn - that's what is needed to fix potholes

26 March 2015

pothole Drivers and cyclists all know that there's a big problem with potholes in the UK. The Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) claims the money spend on repairing roads in the last year has been "wasted".

We assume Scotland and Northern Ireland are doing their own thing, but as far as England and Wales are concerned, to fix the problem, it would cost £12 billion and need 13 years of work, which is a damning viewpoint indeed.

The AIA annual found, unsurprisingly, that there's been an increase in the amount paid in compensation to motorists in England, hovering somewhere around the £20m mark. Add to that, the increased costs of local authorities staffing the situation and to process claims, that's another £18m.

Alan Mackenzie, chairman of the AIA, said: "Essentially, the money spent on filling the 2.7 million potholes reported is wasted - it is inefficient and short term in its effectiveness. So, while we understand that the Department for Transport is promoting permanent repairs, the point remains that money would be better spent preventing potholes forming in the first place."

"The £6bn of funding pledged between 2015 and 2021 is welcome, and hopefully will be confirmed by an incoming government. But the truth is that although it sounds like a big investment, it will only be enough for local authorities to tread water and it will do nothing to tackle the backlog or prevent continuing deterioration."

Mackenzie's not the only one who is alarmed by all this. Peter Box, transport spokesman at the Local Government Association, said: "Councils need billions, not millions, to bring our roads up to scratch. Every mile of motorways and trunk roads will receive £1.4m funding over the next six years compared with £31,000 per mile for local roads."

"This makes little sense given the Government's own traffic projections predict an increase in local traffic of more than 40% by 2040."

TOPICS:   Motoring


  • JonB
    Compensation is £20m a year in England. Staff and claims processing is £18m a year. Total cost is therefore £38m a year, which is much lower than actually repairing the roads at £1b a year. No wonder they aren't doing that.
  • Albi
    Back in the day they'd just put up a sign at the job centre and the next day 100 Irish navvies would turn up. Then they'd blitz the town or city in a fortnight and be off to fix the next place.
  • Father J.
    JonB has hit the nail on the head - neglect is by far the cheaper option. Damaged your vehicle? Claim, claim and claim again!

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