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UK roads gone to pot - national pothole problem now covers 12,000 miles

Press release: 06/11/2015

  • There are more than 30,000 potholes on UK roads awaiting repair
  • One in seven (14%) Brits have had their cars damaged by potholes in the past year alone
  • Despite councils forking out more to repair local roads, only one in 20 motorists feel state of the roads has improved over the past year

British motorists face an assault course of pothole-blighted roads with 12,000 miles [1] of roads now awaiting repair - enough road to stretch half way around the world [2] according to the latest research from LV= Road Rescue.

According to information obtained through Freedom of Information requests to all borough, city and county councils, the average pothole is 0.4 square metres (the equivalent of a family size pizza) and there are currently 31,162 potholes on the roads that are yet to be repaired.

Potholes are not only a nuisance but can also cause damage, with one in seven (14%) motorists having had their car damaged as a result of driving on potholed or uneven road surfaces in the past year alone. The most common damage was caused to the tyres, suspension and wheel rims, costing £267 on average to fix.

These road hazards also cost councils and road authorities across the UK huge amounts of money. Councils paid out a combined sum of more than £1.6million in compensation in the 2014/2015 financial year to motorists who suffered vehicle damage as a result of potholes. This figure could have been even higher, as only half (53%) of motorists know they can actually claim compensation for pothole damage to their cars.

This massive compensation bill for councils and roads authorities in 2014/2015 came despite them each spending around £5million in the same period to try to fix the roads, Freedom of Information requests by LV= Road Rescue revealed.

Among the worst roads for pothole damage were Blackwater Valley Road, Ash Vale, in Surrey and Halifax Road in Sheffield, which respectively provoked 31 and 22 claims by motorists who had suffered damage to their cars last year. The responses also revealed the exhaustive efforts some councils are taking to keep their roads in check, for example Bow Common Lane in London's Tower Hamlets saw 42 separate potholes repairs carried out in 2014 alone.


Table 1. Ten of the worst roads in the UK for potholes, according to responses to a Freedom of Information request

Ranking

Road name

Local council

No. of car damage claims in 2014/15

1

Blackwater Valley Road, Ash Vale

Surrey County Council

31

2

Page Street (NW7)

London Borough of Barnet

24

3

Halifax Road

Sheffield Council

22

4

Westfield Road

City of Edinburgh

19

5

Great Cambridge Road

Hertfordshire County Council

13*

6

Copyhold Lane, East Grinstead

West Sussex County Council

11

7

B4027

Oxfordshire County Council

10

8

Park Road, Hale

Trafford Council

9

9

Kilbirnie Road, Lochwinnoch

Renfrewshire Council

7

10

Broad Lane

Bracknell Forest Council

5

* Number of claims given for the calendar year (2014), as opposed to 2014/15

Despite UK motorists paying £5.9billion in road tax to the DVLA last year, only 6% of motorists say that road surfaces have improved when compared to 12 months ago.

Britain's pothole epidemic is costing councils millions in compensation, but unfortunately it doesn't look as though things are improving. Drivers should protect themselves and their vehicles by reducing their speed and driving carefully on potholed roads, and also reporting damaged roads to their local council.

Selwyn Fernandes, Managing Director, LV= Road Rescue

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For further information please contact:

Nicola Hussey, nicola.hussey@lv.com, 020 8253 5238 / 07468 761 128

Notes:

LV= Road Rescue issued Freedom of Information requests to 209 UK borough, city and county councils. Of these, 140 responded with at least one piece of data (68%).

Additional research conducted among 2,012 GB adults aged 18+ was conducted between 16 and 18 September 2015 by ICM Unlimited. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to represent the profile of all adults. ICM Unlimited is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at: www.icmresearch.com.

  1. Source: FOI data. The responses we received showed that 11,564 miles of road currently need maintenance work because of uneven surfaces or potholes. This is a conservative estimate as we only received data from approximately two thirds of councils for this question.
  2. Source: The distance around the world (diameter) is approximately 24,901 miles. 11,564 (see footnote 1) is approximately half of the world’s diameter.

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