UK faces ‘11-year, £14.2billion backlog’ for pothole repairs

Arnold Schwarzenegger fills in pothole outside his house

More than £22.7million was paid out in damage compensation by local authorities in England and Wales in 2022. With this money, around 340,000 potholes could have been filled, potentially saving local authorities hundreds of thousands of pounds in the process.

Since 2017, the total amount paid out through compensation could have filled more than 2.3 million potholes.

The research, from Citroen, revealed that more than 1,100 people have been injured in England and Wales since 2017, with a “defective road surface” being at fault.

Comparing data from the Department for Transport and the Asphalt Industry Alliance found that in the last 12 months, local authorities in England and Wales spent a total of £93.7million.

This was spent on fixing 1.4 million potholes, at an average cost of £66.93 per repair.

Over the same timeframe, total compensation claims of £22.7million were paid out to road users, with £11.6million for payouts and £11.1million for staffing costs handling the claims.

Greg Taylor, Managing Director of Citroen UK, said: “The 2023 ALARM report shows that the UK faces an 11-year and £14.2billion backlog of road repairs. 

“With this in mind, it’s no surprise that millions are spent each year on damage compensation for motorists. 

“To help drivers avoid the worst of pothole damage, Citroen is glad to offer a Free Pothole Damage Inspection at participating retailers from May 1– June 30.”

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The data also found that the average lifespan of a UK road now stands at 116 years, with the wear-and-tear of daily use eroding the road at a faster rate.

This is up 46 years from a lifespan of 70 years estimated in 2022, with the cost of refilling a pothole also increasing by almost £4.

It is estimated to cost £14.2billion pounds as a lump sum to fill every pothole in the country, up from £12.64billion in 2022.

New research from Autoglass has found that 44 percent of drivers in the UK who have chipped or cracked their windscreen in the past 12 months have blamed potholes.

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One-third of UK drivers have had windscreen damage in the last year, with motorists blaming loose stones, debris and bad weather.

Only one-quarter of motorists would contact a glass repair company directly, while 29 percent said they would go straight to their car insurance provider.

In most cases, drivers would not need to contact their insurance provider as the glass repair company would work with them to sort out any unresolved details.

Ed Colley, Head of Marketing at Autoglass, said: “The state of the UK roads is clearly having a damaging effect on cars across the UK, and storms and bad weather are increasing the danger of both chips and potholes. 

“Chips and cracks can be caused by loose gravel within or the impact of driving over a pothole, and if safe to do so, drivers should avoid them, especially if there is an existing chip in their windscreen.

“As drivers look to rectify any chip or crack on their windscreen, they should make direct contact with a glass repair company who will manage their insurance claim and look to get them back on the road in a safe vehicle as quickly as possible.” 

Regionally, motorists in the West Midlands were most likely to blame potholes for their chips, with 50 percent saying holes in the road would cause such chaos.

This was followed by the East Midlands (46 percent), London (42 percent) and the South East (44 percent).

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