New figures suggest there are areas of the country where individual potholes are taking more than eighteen months to be repaired .
Data obtained by the Liberal Democrats through Freedom of Information requests suggests that some councils in England are taking over a month on average to fix potholes once they have been reported, with some individual potholes left for 567 days before being repaired.
The Liberal Democrats have criticised the Government for creating a “pothole postcode lottery” by cutting local authority’s highways maintenance budgets by £500 million (28%) since 2020-21 and announcing only a £200 million top-up to the national ‘Potholes Fund’ in the Budget last month. The party is calling for these cuts to roads funding to be fully reversed.
Figures provided by 81 councils show the scale of lengthy pothole repair times across the country. It took Stoke-on-Trent City Council a shocking 567 days – close to 19 months – to fix an individual pothole after it was first reported. In London, Westminster City Council took 556 days – over 18 months, for one repair.
In total, the 81 councils reported 556,658 potholes in the financial year 2021/22, up from 519,968 in 2017/18. Roads maintained by Derbyshire County Council were the worst affected with 90,596 potholes, followed closely by Lancashire County Council with 67,439 and Northumberland County Council with 51,703.
Last year, it took Newham Council 56 days on average to repair the 138 potholes reported. Similarly, Lambeth Council took 50 days on average to fix their 462 potholes – five weeks longer than their 2017/18 average of 14 days.
The Liberal Democrats say they want to see local authority highways maintenance budgets fully restored in addition to the national £200 million Potholes Fund top-up, so local authorities have the necessary funds to repair their pothole backlogs.
Liberal Democrat Local Government spokesperson Helen Morgan said: “Potholes have become a plague on our roads. Motorists should not have to spend their journeys choosing between hitting potholes or dangerously swerving around an obstacle course of tarmac craters.
“Hard working people are paying huge bills to repair damage from potholes, while this Conservative Government takes away the money local councils need to repair our roads.
“It is not fair for local residents in some areas of the country to be waiting over a year for road repairs because their council cannot afford it.
“The pothole postcode lottery needs to end. That’s why the Liberal Democrats are demanding that the Government reverses its cuts to councils’ road maintenance budgets in full, so they can get on with fixing our roads.”
(File picture – RAC)