/ Motoring

Potholes: are you tired of ropey road surfaces?


Recent research by the Local Government Association has concluded that it’ll take 14 years and cost £12bn to fix all the potholes in England and Wales. But it does seem as though there are a lot of potholes about. So do ropey road surfaces drive you mad?

Being both a cyclist and a motorist, potholes have become a bane of my life. I’m either narrowly avoiding going under the wheels of a bus when I swerve them on my bike, or risking being rear-ended when I slam on the brakes of my car in an effort to drive over them slowly to save my poor axle, suspension and tyres.

Problems with potholes

Only recently, my cousin was complaining to me about the state of the road leading to her home in a village in East Sussex and how no one seemed to be fixing the potholes any more.

I told her the problem wasn’t just local to her: I had to negotiate them a lot more frequently in London, too. I then wondered (embarrassingly, out loud), why, if the road tax on my car continued to rise pretty much every year (so therefore must do for everyone else), this revenue wasn’t being used to repair the roads.

Of course, I was soon corrected: road tax doesn’t pay for pothole/road repairs on local roads – the town, city or county council does.

And, it seems, that due to years of underfunding and bad weather, the average council in England and Wales is facing a one-off bill of £69m to bring its roads up to a reasonable standard.

In fact, such is the backlog that new research by the Local Government Association (LGA) states it would take 14 years and cost £12bn to fix all the potholed roads in both countries.

Despite budget cuts, the LGA, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, says that councils are filling and patching up more potholes than ever – one every 15 seconds at a cost of around £55 per hole – but has called for urgent longer-term investment.

In a recent discussion about bumpy roads and speed humps, one Which? Conversation Community member, Wavechange, called for action on potholes:

‘I would certainly join a campaign to get potholes fixed having required a catalytic converter shortly after driving over a pothole that was not obvious because it was full of water.’

The fact is, that while it may take a considerable amount of money to repair our roads, potholes are also taking a toll on our cars. Earlier this month, the RAC Foundation revealed that in the past year alone more than 31,000 claims were made to local councils for damage to vehicles caused by poor road conditions. Councils paid out in a quarter of cases, with the average settlement being £306.

The RAC also found that the number of vehicle breakdowns caused by pothole-related damage had more than doubled in the past 10 years. And it’s estimated that potholes cost British motorists £684m each year.

Repairing the damage

So what’s being done about our holey roads?

Well, the LGA is calling for extra funding – it wants the government to put funding of local roads on the same footing as main roads, and for 2p per litre of fuel duty to be given to councils for maintenance and repairs.

For those based in Devon, you may have spotted a clean-up operation on your holey roads with an army of volunteer ‘Community Road Wardens’ out repairing your roads. The county council is recruiting and training these volunteers, supplying them with the materials and equipment to fill the holes it can’t afford to mend itself.

So, what do you think – are we doomed to forever be dodging these perilous potholes? Do ropey road surfaces wind you up? Has your car been damaged by a pothole before? Did you claim the damage from the council? Would you voluntarily repair your local roads under a scheme like the one in Devon?

Has your car been damaged by a pothole?

Yes (53%, 415 Votes)

No (34%, 267 Votes)

Don't know (13%, 103 Votes)

Total Voters: 785

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That’s a bit of a challenge, Duncan. Better let him sleep on it. 🙂


Maybe he could fire up his particle accelerator he keeps in his shed in the garden and give us a reading Wavechange.


I thought the particle accelerator was to fire chippings into potholes.

These commercial quick-fill pothole machines should have a street sweeping machine in tow to collect the surplus stones. Or maybe an Autoglass roadside repair van. 🙁


Your quite right Wavechange I have a small crack on my windscreen due to a stone chip its not big enough to affect the MOT.


If the particle accelerator was one that Quark acquired from the Pygorians, you might end up with a planethole rather than a repaired pothole, and Autoglass might need a bit of retraining in terraforming.


Duncan, is your small crack small enough to be repaired? If your car insurance includes free stone chip repair, it could be worth getting them to have a look at it. They can repair a spider effect if it doesn’t get too big.

It could save you having to buy a new windscreen, and I have been quite surprised at the quality of the repairs.


Just back from the shopping Alfa – thanks for that info I will check into it.

Duncan Smith says:
20 November 2016

Where do you all get this spare time from?………, ive been working since my last post on 15th Nov……
Can we start writing in French, Spanish, Swedish or German from now on, it would be more interesting or maybe you cant,,,,,,,,,aaah thats why you want Brexit lol!


Parlez vous Francais Duncan ? I got 3 years of it then I had to leave High School and get a job due to poverty. Notice its not the “personal ” version as applied to a relative/loved one – Want Brexit Duncan ? You cant have been posting/viewing here long , as I said in public it took me a long while at the poll booth to work out whether I wanted TTIP or Brexit , I just narrowly voted to stay , but as again , I made it public , if the majority vote out I can live with it but just to get you up to date I am in contact with a high power City organisation , including many Tory leaders who want to stay in as well as many in BB UK and I get “government” updates on their fight . So you are way off-base with me but if you look at Scotland’s “Marxist ” style PC govern-ship where if you disagree with their policy in any way – you are labeled a -right-wing thug ” A Tory ***** etc and yet I have never voted Tory in my life but when I compare