Pothole plague sparks driver fury with 'billions in tax' wasted on terrible road repairs

Potholes on road

Many drivers have complained that the state of roads has worsened in recent years

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Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves


Published: 20/10/2023

- 08:00

Updated: 20/10/2023

- 08:00

It would take £14billion to fill all potholes and improve the state of roads in England and Wales

A third of UK drivers have admitted to swerving to avoid a pothole, with anger at the conditions of roads reaching an eight-year high.

Almost half (49 per cent) of drivers said the biggest issue in motoring was the state of roads and potholes across the UK.


This is the highest level of discontent among drivers since the RAC began asking motorists for their views on roads in 2015, with the previous high – 46 per cent – coming in 2021.

Two-thirds of Britons said they were forced to drive on poor-quality roads regularly over the previous 12 months.

WATCH NOW: Potholes causing chaos across the UK

Around 35 per cent of drivers admitted to swerving into another lane or going on the wrong side of the road to avoid a pothole.

Potholes were found to be the biggest impediment for drivers, but faded markings, litter and the visibility of signage also has a huge impact on drivers.

Simon Williams, head of policy for the RAC, predicted that many drivers would be questioning why there were so many potholes, especially in the absence of particularly cold temperatures.

He added: “Sadly, a long-term lack of funding for maintenance and repair work means our roads are in such a fragile state that it only takes a little rainwater getting into existing flaws followed by some sub-zero temperatures for them to break down further.

“This is why we continue to call on the Government to ring-fence 2p from every litre of existing fuel revenues over a five-year period which will give councils the funds they need to be able to plan proper maintenance programmes.

“It is plain wrong that drivers who contribute billions in tax every year have to put up with roads that are so far from being fit for purpose.”

The 2023 Government Spring Budget announced a £200million boost for local authorities to repair potholes and improve roads across England.

Estimates show that this funding could fix the equivalent of up to four million additional potholes.

Despite this, the RAC claims it would take £14billion to fill all potholes and improve the state of roads in England and Wales.

With colder temperatures already impacting drivers, and Storm Babet hammering Britons, there are fears that more potholes could appear.

This will occur when water enters a crack in the road, freezes and expands, damaging the foundation and creating a larger hole.

While only 11 per cent of drivers said potholes were a serious issue on motorways, 44 per cent claimed their condition had worsened in the last year.

Darren Rodwell, transport spokesman for the Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, said: “Councils share the frustration of all road users about the conditions of our local roads.

“The LGA has long called for longer-term funding to tackle the issues facing our roads and we believe that Government should award local authority highways departments with five-yearly funding allocations to give more certainty, bringing councils on a par with National Highways.

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Potholes on road

The Government pledged another £200million towards the Potholes Fund earlier this year

PA

“In the upcoming Autumn Statement we look forward to seeing more details on the recent £8.3billion funding plan for roads maintenance.”

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