Pot­hole plague plumb­ing new depths

The Daily Telegraph - - Front page - By Jack Hardy

The com­bined depth of pot­holes in Eng­land is 15 times that of the low­est point in the Grand Canyon, with one reported ev­ery 43 sec­onds. Nearly 700,000 pot­holes were reported over the past year, a 13 per cent year-on-year rise, data ob­tained by the Fed­er­a­tion of Small Busi­nesses showed.

THE com­bined depth of pot­holes in Eng­land is 15 times that of the low­est point in the Grand Canyon, with a new one reported ev­ery 43 sec­onds, fig­ures have re­vealed.

Nearly 700,000 pot­holes were reported on the high­ways over the past year, mark­ing a 13 per cent jump on the pre­vi­ous year, data ob­tained by the Fed­er­a­tion of Small Busi­nesses (FSB) showed.

A par­al­lel in­crease in the bills coun­cils faced for re­pair­ing pot­holes – reach­ing £949 mil­lion in 2018-19 – has prompted calls for the Gov­ern­ment to “sit up and take no­tice”.

Most lo­cal au­thor­i­ties de­fine a pot­hole as any dip in the road sur­face of 40mm and above, mean­ing the com­bined depth of the past year’s pot­holes would reach 28km. This amounts to nearly 15 times deeper than the dark­est depths of the Grand Canyon, or three times the height of Mount Everest.

More than £1.9mil­lion was paid in com­pen­sa­tion to mo­torists who had their vehicles dam­aged by pot­holes last year, ac­cord­ing to fig­ures ob­tained un­der the Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion Act.

The pot­hole cri­sis was de­scribed ear­lier this year as a “na­tional scan­dal” in a re­port by MPS sit­ting on the Com­mons trans­port se­lect com­mit­tee.

The FSB said the poor state of re­pair on roads had af­fected small busi­nesses and that lo­cal au­thor­i­ties needed more fund­ing from cen­tral Gov­ern­ment.

Mike Cherry, the na­tional chair­man of the FSB, said: “Pot­holes are a ma­jor con­cern for the na­tion’s small busi­nesses. Our mem­bers rely heav­ily on the lo­cal road net­work, with their staff, cus­tomers and trade de­liv­er­ies, de­pen­dent on fast and ef­fi­cient road net­works.

“Poorly looked-af­ter roads pep­pered with holes and cracks not only ham­per their abil­ity to do busi­ness, but lead to dam­aged vehicles, which are of­ten vi­tal as­sets to small firms work­ing with­out large capital re­serves.

“These fig­ures show just how wide­spread the is­sue is, and it’s clear that the Gov­ern­ment and lo­cal au­thor­i­ties need to sit up and take no­tice.”

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