The chancellor’s £2.5bn pothole funding announced at today’s Budget has been strongly welcomed by IAM RoadSmart, which says it’s a shot in the arm for filling the huge backlog of potholes – but warns a long-term plan is urgently needed to cure the problem for good.
Part of the Government’s “infrastructure revolution” – and announced alongside a £27bn package for new road building – the funding will be spread over the next five years, enabling up to 50 million potholes to be filled over this timespan. It will also be available for local authorities to undertake longer-term road resurfacing works to prevent potholes from appearing in the first place.
Speaking on the morning of his Budget statement, chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “We can’t level up Britain and spread opportunity if we are spending our journeys dodging potholes and forking out for the damage they cause. It’s vital we keep roads in good condition. That’s why we are going to eradicate the scourge of potholes in every part of the country. This funding will fill millions of potholes every year – speeding up journeys, reducing vehicle damage and making our roads safer.”
But IAM RoadSmart says longer-term thinking is also needed.
A past survey of more than 7,000 IAM RoadSmart members showed a clear majority (88%) believe the condition of our roads have deteriorated in recent years and over half those surveyed (56%) said there are many more potholes than ever before, and that they had to swerve to avoid potholes on every journey.
Nearly half of respondents – more than 3,400 people – said they have experienced damage to their vehicle as a result of hitting a pothole. Some 27% said they needed to steer around a pothole every day.
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Pothole damage is not just inconvenient and expensive, it is a massive safety concern.
“Drivers and riders pay a premium through their taxes for investment in roads. It really is time to ring-fence funds for tackling this pothole epidemic, and get the problem sorted once and for all.”