UK roads resemble ‘surface of the moon’ after record rise in pothole-related breakdowns

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 8:16 am
A record rise in pothole-related breakdowns on UK roads has been recorded (Shutterstock)
A record rise in pothole-related breakdowns on UK roads has been recorded (Shutterstock)

The RAC has said that many roads in the UK “resemble the surface of the moon” after a record increase in pothole-related breakdowns.

The automotive services company received 4,694 call-outs for vehicles likely damaged by potholes between January and March.

That was a three-fold increase on the total of 1,461 during the final three months of last year, representing the breakdown rescue firm’s largest rise between quarters.

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Some 2.4% of all call-outs attended by its patrols between January and March were for pothole-related issues such as distorted wheels, broken suspension springs or damaged shock absorbers.

‘Roads in a desperate state’

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes described many roads as being in a “desperate state”, which indicates that some councils are “simply patching up potholes rather than fixing them properly”.

He continued: “Many drivers are finding themselves having to use roads that in places better resemble the surface of the moon.”

Mr Lyes said the particularly cold start to the year caused “extensive damage”, as potholes are formed by water seeping into cracks and expanding when frozen.

It was the coldest January across the UK since 2010, with an average temperature of just 2.2C, according to the Met Office

Mr Lyes also reiterated calls to give local authorities ring-fenced funds over a five-year period for longer-term road maintenance, urging the Government and councils to “commit to doing something differently”.

‘Councils working hard to repair our roads’

A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: “Despite the pandemic, councils have been working hard to repair our roads, fixing a pothole every 19 seconds as well as supporting an increase in other infrastructure through temporary road measures.

“Councils want to continue to improve our roads and deliver the infrastructure improvements that allow people to move around in less carbon-intensive and more sustainable ways.”

A report by trade body the Asphalt Industry Alliance published last month stated that councils in England and Wales would need to spend a total of £10 billion over a decade to bring all their pothole-plagued roads up to scratch.