The Daily Telegraph - Saturday

Councils spending third less on potholes with ‘quick-fix repairs’

- By Jack Simpson TRANSPORT CORRESPOND­ENT

COUNCILS are spending a third less on filling potholes than they were eight years ago as they use cheaper quick fixes on UK roads.

Analysis by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) for The Daily Telegraph has shows that the amount spent by coun- cils on filling potholes dropped from £144million in 2015 to £96million last year. This was mirrored by a drop in the number of potholes fixed with only 1.4 million filled last year, compared to 2.7 million eight years ago.

Councils are choosing cheaper and quicker methods to fill potholes, which can sometimes last only a matter of weeks, as they face funding pressures and obligation­s to keep their roads safe.

Experts have said that councils are opting to plug potholes with hot and cold surfacing, rather than the “perma- nent repairs” that require cutting out the road and filling it in.

Mark Morrell, a utility engineer of 25 years and pothole campaigner, said that councils are being forced into these shorter-term measures because of funding constraint­s. He added: “Over the years, highways authoritie­s have been forced into quick-fix cheap repairs due to lack of money. Many of which don’t last that long, in some cases only days. More permanent repairs are required which do cost more, but last.”

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “[A] more fundamenta­l problem is emerging with the age and state of our roads which quick and dirty patching won’t tackle.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “We’re investing more than £5 billion from 2020 to 2025 to maintain local roads.”

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