Pothole blackspots around the UK revealed
Motorists all over Lancashire and Britain are still being driven potty by potholes, new figures have revealed.
Despite millions of pounds of Government and local cash being poured into the problem, many local authorities are still struggling to keep up. And Lancashire County Council is named as one of them – although the way the figures are compiled and analysed is disputed by highways chiefs.
In Blackpool , however, it is a different picture, as the resort’s unitary authority is said to be performing well. Almost a million potholes have been recorded by local authorities on Britain’s roads each year since 2015 with an astonishing 1,088,965 potholes being reported in 2016, said insurance provider The Insurance Emporium.
The data was obtained following a Freedom of Information request to 205 local authorities, 175 of whom responded. Revealing the best and worst places in the UK for potholes since 2015, this research also looked at the incidence of injury and damage claims made against local authorities by cyclists who came a cropper on potholes whilst out on the road.
The City of Edinburgh Council was UK’s overall pothole capital, with 73 potholes per km of road being reported on average from January 2015 to April 2018.
Lancashire averaged 6.5 potholes per km of road, with Blackpool one of the best in Britain with just 2.31.
Professor Nicholas Thom of Nottingham University, and UK pothole expert, said: “Potholes are not an inevitable fact of life. “They are caused by water that gets into the road surface and is then squeezed by the action of high tyre pressures, made worse by freezing and thawing.
“Very impermeable surfaces, such as hot rolled asphalt, are extremely pothole resistant but they are more expensive and less nice to drive on. More permeable surfaces, as permitted by Highways England and most local authorities, are cheaper and nicer to drive on – until they fall apart and form potholes.
“ So the number of potholes per kilometre on a given authority’s roads depends not only on the repair budget, repair strategy, and the climate -frosts are bad news- but also on a historical policy choice, namely what surfacing materials to use.
“It is a choice that badly needs to be reviewed.” During 2017-18, some 335 pothole damage and injury claims were filed against local authorities.
Lancashire County Council records ‘defects’ rather than ‘potholes’ which also includes cracked or missing flagstones. A spokesman for Lancashire County Council said: “Potholes form when water gets into small cracks in the road and freezes, causing the crack to expand and the road surface to break up.
“The severity of the weather we get over the winter has a major influence on the number of potholes we need to repair in any given year, and figures for recent years reflect the impact of Storm Desmond in December 2015, which meant we had to repair a lot more potholes in 2016.
“We put an extra £5m into the budget for road maintenance this financial year on top of the allocation received from government, which has allowed our highways teams to put the roads back in good condition following last year’s wetter than average winter.
“Lancashire is assessed by the Department for Transport as being in the top tier of councils for the way we maintain roads, which mean we were awarded 100% of our funding allocation in 2018/19.”
In 2018/19 £26.4m was allocated in Lancashire for maintaining roads and of this £13.3m was allocated specifically to potholes, including a £4.393m fund for small scale repairs such as patching, where there are areas of damage which are too big for a normal pothole repair, but too small for a resurfacing scheme.