Potholes leave £2m crater in North Wales council budgets
Authorities admit they can’t keep up with the repairs backlog and number of potholes is increasing
North Wales councils have forked more than £2m on pothole repairs.
And the cost is likely to rise, with one authority admitting that the number of the craters is increasing.
The amount spent by councils last year varies widely, with Flintshire council spending around £200,000 but Conwy spending nearly five times as much.
Anglesey council said they have to spend around £580,000 a year on filling potholes.
A spokeswoman said: “There is no doubt that there is an actual increase in the number of potholes on our roads.”
The council blamed an increase in the number of potholes on cuts of over 40 per cent, from £3.88m in 2009/10 to £2.27m in 2017/18, made worse by inflation.
Gwynedd spent £721,36 on filling potholes last year, while Conwy spent £965,166.
Denbighshire spent £297,680 on filling potholes, and Flintshire Council estimates its repairs cost around £4,000 a week. They had 3,138 potholes reported last year.
In a recent report, transport chief officer Stephen Jones said investment in roads had been a priority for the past five years and Flintshire’s highways were “the best maintained in Wales.”
However, he said: “This position can very quickly worsen, particularly after a severe winter period.”
Mr Jones said filling potholes was the cheapest option to remove defects and provide a defence against any claims.
“The more that is invested in resurfacing and full patching operations, the less potholes will form and therefore less will be spent on reactive pot hole filling. If the potholes are not filled then the council is liable for third party claims and this expenditure further reduces the funding available for resurfacing.”
In Wrexham, the total of highway spending including resurfacing last year was £5,598,176. They had no separate budget for potholes.
However they recorded 2,659 repairs last year.
A spokesperson said: “Like all local authorities, we are in a dire financial position and have not got the funding required to even maintain a steady state of repair.”
Last year it was revealed that North Wales councils paid out over £51,933.68 compensating drivers whose vehicles were damaged by potholes from 2012 to 2017.
More than half of the claims failed, with 106 proving successful and 76 unresolved.
Wrexham Council forked out the highest amount with £26,046.58 in compensation on 57 successful claims
Denbighshire was second, with £15,948 on 36 successful claims. Third was Conwy who paid out £9,700.36 on 10 successful claims.
Anglesey paid out just £238 to three successful claimants.