Freezing Weather Presents Hole New Problem For Council

Massive increase in potholes on local roads is an expensive problem for all


December's severe weather has resulted in a 90% increase in the number of potholes on UK roads, according to a new survey.

The research, carried out by insurance company More Than, found as many as 72% of motorists claiming potholes had affected their driving.

A spokesman for the company said:
"December was the coldest experienced in the UK since records began, which, unsurprisingly, has heavily impacted our roads. Drivers across the country are now facing a serious hazard to their journeys, with the average driver saying they have to dodge around six potholes every day."

Hitting a pothole can cause serious damage to tyres rendering them both dangerous and illegal.

It has been estimated that in 2010 there were 8,000 pot hole related claims to insurers and the early signs are that 2011 will exceed this due to the damage caused to roads during the freezing weather.

Local authorities are also facing pressure as to which roads they prioritise for repair due to cuts of up to 20 per cent in road maintenance budgets. According to the Local Government Association, Councils in England and Wales face a £165m funding gap to repair roads damaged by the winter weather.

What is a pothole?
A pothole is where the surface of the road has been eroded and a hollow has formed. Potholes can also appear on pavements.

What causes a pothole?

Roads everywhere are particularly vulnerable during winter’s freezing conditions. If there is even a small crack in the road water will enter, and the freeze/ thaw cycle eventually causes the surface to break open. With vehicles crossing over it repeatedly a pothole is born, which is why our busy roads are more at risk.

How does the Council programme pothole repairs?
A team of trained highway inspectors inspect all council owned roads regularly. The frequency of these inspections follows national good practice guidance and varies depending on the classification and importance of the road.

Defects are recorded, and those that pose a potential hazard are assigned a repair time scale, in accordance with our safety inspection policy, with those posing a higher risk, to pedestrians or vehicles, given higher priority.

Why don't the Council just fill every reported pothole?

They will repair any potholes that they consider pose an imminent danger but others may be left to be included in future programmed maintenance, which is a much more cost effective approach.

How do I report a pothole?
Report a problem with streets/public places
• Email:
• Telephone: 020 8583 5555

February 13, 2011