Hartlepool council among quickest in country when it comes to responding to potholes

Hartlepool Borough Council is one of the fastest-acting authorities in the country when it comes to dealing with the most severe potholes, new figures show.

Thursday, 17th January 2019, 4:10 pm
Updated Friday, 18th January 2019, 12:38 am
A pothole in a road.
A pothole in a road.

Research by the RAC Foundation found that the council aims to respond to potholes in just one hour.

The council is unlikely to investigate potholes which have depth of 40mm or less, the same as most authorities in the country.

A pothole in a road. Pic by PA.

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Three councils, Flintshire, Cumbria and South Lanarkshire, attempt to deal with potholes immediately.

A further 16 councils, including Hartlepool, aim to act within an hour, and five within 90 minutes.

The most common response time to the most urgent problems is two hours, with 79 councils looking to respond within this period.

At the other end of the scale Coventry City Council only aims to respond within five days.

Analysis by the RAC Foundation shows that local highway authorities across the country are increasingly adopting the ‘risk-based’ approach to fixing road defects.

Councillor Stephen Akers-Belcher, chairman of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Neighbourhood Services Committee, said: “These statistics reflect our on-going commitment to providing and maintaining a road network across the borough that is of the highest possible quality.

“The majority of serious defects requiring repair are picked up through our inspection regime which enables us to quickly identify problems on the ground and take appropriate action. Others are brought to our attention by members of the public.

“However, we are not complacent and continue to invest significant sums of money in the local road network through our annual programme of highways maintenance.

“We are also constantly looking for new and innovative ways of boosting the resources available to us following nine consecutive years of funding cuts which have seen the amount of money we receive from Central Government fall by almost £21million (45%).

“Last year, a decision was taken to spend £2.5 million on improving roads and footpaths across the town following a review of loan repayment costs which identified a significant budget saving.

“After listening to residents who told us that they very much wanted this investment to be in their communities, we began work on a programme of improvements last year.

“The money being spent on these improvements is in addition to money already committed for highways works.”

The latest guidance from the UK Roads Liaison Group – a collaboration of both national and local government – recommends that primary, secondary and main distributor roads are inspected by Local Highway Authorities once a month; link roads once a quarter; and local roads once a year.

Inspections aim to identify all road defects, not just potholes but also damaged or missing manhole covers and drain grates, and damage to the edge of the carriageway.