The leading campaigner on potholes said the poor roads were affecting road users through extra wear and tear costs. He said funding for road repairs was no longer top of the authorities priorities due to the coronavirus pandemic despite the risk to motorists.
- Breakdowns caused by pothole damage in major increase
Mr Pothole says he has urgently called for councils to use the lockdown to fix damaged roads for “weeks” before demanding a new major resurfacing programme to run for the next five years.
The expert claimed the government should put in place a pothole Tsar to oversee the works in a similar role to Paul Deighton who is overseeing PPE efforts in the UK.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Mr Pothole said: “Motorists are seen as an easy touch and cash cow for [the] government.
“We pay in – through all forms of tax – over £50 billion a year. Meanwhile badly maintained roads cost road users extra wear and tear costs.”
He added: “Although GOV has given more funds because of Covid 19 some are taking out loans to cover mountaining costs. So to find money for road repairs is not top of authorities priorities.
“If [the] government wanted to boost the economy as we move forward, it would be a great time to invest in a massive resurfacing programme over the next five years. Then put in place longer term funding.”
Many councils have been told by the Department for Transport to increase road repairs during the outbreak to reduce the number of potholes on UK roads.
The order was made after data from the RAC’s Pothole Index found the number of breakdowns caused by potholes had dramatically soared.
Pothole damage has increased across the UK [ANALYSIS]
This UK region has paid over £300,000 in pothole claims [INSIGHT]
This area has the most potholes in the UK [MAP]
The research found the number of claims for pothole related damage had been boosted by 64 percent in the first three months of 2020 compared to the last three of 2019.
The data was also up five percent from this time last year with the RAC claiming the two storms were “likely” to be blamed for the upsurge in damage.
Mr Pothole says increased breakdowns were likely due to increased rainfall seen this year.
He said surface water creates problems as car tyres push the water into cracks in the carriageway surface which will eventually break down the tarmac.
- Pothole campaigner pushes for ‘culture change’
Mr Pothole claims he and other campaign workers have previously pushed for councils to use the shutdown to conduct vital repairs.
He said: “Telling councils to fix roads during lockdown is something that myself and others have been suggesting for weeks. Some proactive highways authorities have been doing just that.
“In fact a number of highways authorities that I have contacts with have carried out urgent repairs when I have flagged them up to them directly.
“They understand the increased risk as a result of more cyclists on our roads now. Many are inexperienced so there is a greater risk.
“However the [Department for Transport] simply saying ‘fix the roads during lockdown’. It’s not as easy as that. Many simply don’t have the money to do so.”
The AA has also pushed for an extensive pothole repair scheme during lockdown which provided an “ideal chance” to fix roads across the UK.
AA President Edmund King confirmed Shorphsire had “seized that opportunity” but called on more council to get to action in tackling the problem.
He said: “With daily road traffic down as much as 60 percent, the lockdown and the long dry period this month has provided an ideal chance to get to grips with potholes – whilst still observing social distancing.”
The government has pledged a £2.5billion pothole repair fund which will issue an extra £500million each year to deal with a backlog on UK streets.
Source: Read Full Article