Five potholes a week reported in Hartlepool
Five potholes a week are being reported on roads in Hartlepool, new figures have shown.
According to figures from the RAC, acquired through freedom of information requests, there was 1,056 reports of potholes in the town from 2014 to 2017.
This includes a 48% rise in the number reported in 2017 compared to 2015 - increasing from 205 to 304.
There was however a drop in the number of potholes reported last from the previous year - falling from 364 in 2016 to 304.
Hartlepool Borough Council bosses say maintaining roads in the area was one of its top priorities and it tries to invest in improvements despite government cuts.
A council spokesman said: “Providing and maintaining a road network of the highest possible quality is one of our top priorities, although the amount of work we are able to carry out is inevitably determined by the level of resources available to us.
“We have now faced nine consecutive years of cuts in central Government funding, resulting in the amount of money we receive falling by almost £21 million (45%).
“Nevertheless, we continue to invest significant sums of money in the local road network.”
He added: “We have an annual programme of highways maintenance that prioritises roads based on their condition and we also operate an inspection regime on the ground that enables us to quickly identify problems and take appropriate action.”
Council bosses also said they have taken advantage of additional funding when available such as through the Government’s pothole and incentive funds.
They said they used this money to resurface whole stretches of road, as opposed to filling in potholes, as they said this offers a better, longer-term repair.
Council bosses also said new ways to improve the condition of roads are ongoing.
The spokesman said: “We are constantly looking for new and innovative ways of boosting the resources available to us and, indeed, last year a decision was taken to spend £2.5 million on improving roads and footpaths across the town.
“Residents told us that they very much wanted this investment to be in their communities and we began work on a programme of improvements last year.
“The money being spent on these improvements is in addition to money that had already been committed for highways works.”
According to the RAC data, around 1.7 million potholes were reported across Britain between 2014 – 2017.
Factoring in councils who failed to provide data, the insurance firm believe the figure could stretch to 2.4 million over the same period.
In 2017 alone, more than half a million potholes were reported, an increase of 44 per cent from 2015.
RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “It is shocking to see the number of reported potholes in Britain has risen by nearly 50% in two years.
“Our own analysis of breakdown data shows the damage suffered by motorists is a constant source of frustration and expense, but the scale of the problem is obviously far greater than the numbers show.
“Perhaps motorists are more inclined to report pothole defects than they were a few years ago, but we believe the sheer size of the increase is further proof the condition of our roads is worsening. “
Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service