Set out in your car and it’s only a matter of time until you hit a stretch of road that’s pockmarked with potholes. Every motorist knows that the country’s roads are in a mess and a recent report has put a price on the overall repair bill. The Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) has calculated that the local road network needs £12billion worth of investment just to keep it in a serviceable state. Without additional funds, they predict that one in six local roads will need to be resurfaced or closed in the next five years.
David Weeks, Director of the AIA, commented “It’s a huge problem, our local highway engineers simply aren’t getting enough money to repair the roads properly, and now it’s beginning to show. The ageing road network is the legacy of years of underfunding, increased traffic and more severe weather events”.
Admittedly it isn’t surprising that the AIA wants the government to spend more money on asphalt. However, they aren’t alone with vocal support coming from the Local Government Association (LGA) as Councillor Peter Fleming explains “The report says what we have been saying for some time. The government directly funds 3% of national roads at over £1million per mile. Yet the remaining 97% of local roads, which we all use most of the time, get £27,000 per mile. The difference in funding is quantum”.
The government has responded to the report pointing out that they have committed £6billion over the next six years to maintaining and upgrading the country’s roads. However, detractors have said that it’s not enough to tread water, never mind bringing the road network up to scratch. But in these tough economic times is it realistic to expect the government to fork out £12billion fixing potholes?
Councillor Fleming of the LGA believes there might be an alternative and suggests that the government “Puts aside two pence from every pound that’s currently raised in fuel duty to directly maintain the country’s roads”. It’s an interesting idea that could prove popular with motorists (and the wider public) and certainly provides plenty of food for thought.
Meanwhile a nationwide chain of mechanics have been crunching their customer data to reveal that six million motorists pay for vehicle repairs caused by potholes every year. If you hit a pothole it is possible to claim on a comprehensive insurance policy, but it might not make economic sense. It’s also possible to make a claim against the local council and it’s certainly well-worth reporting the pothole to the relevant authority. Whether or not you decide to make a claim it’s important to carefully check for damage; even if you were travelling at low speed.