Want that pothole fixed? Measure it then...

Updated: 

Drivers in Stockport are being been told to take matters – or rather tape measures – into their own hands when it comes to sorting out potholes.

Motorists calling Stockport council to report potholes are being told to send evidence to prove that the holes are big enough to warrant repair.

But it's advice that's been slammed by the AA as "very dangerous" because citizens are essentially being asked to stop in the middle of the road with a tape measure and camera, so that the council can assess the pothole without having to send someone out.

The policy was introduced in July and aimed to cut council costs, but has backfired as both the AA and RAC have criticised it. "Expecting drivers to hit the streets armed with tape measures and cameras is perhaps taking civic responsibility too far," said RAC director Stephen Glaister.

"The best solution would be for councils to maintain their roads adequately before the need to complain arises," he added.

Under guidelines set out in July, Stockport council will only fix potholes that are 1.5 inches or more deep and 12 inches wide, which is why it began asking for photographic evidence.

According to the Manchester Evening News, Stockport councils Highways chief Iain Robert was told to check a pothole's measurements when he called to report one.

"I think they were genuinely trying to be helpful and to organise it in the most effective way so officers can fix the most number of potholes they can. But we need to get the balance right," he said.

Potholes are a sore subject for motorists at the moment, with thousands of new ones created during the winter cold snaps of 2009 and 2010; councils paid out £47m in damages to drivers whose cars were damaged by potholes last year.

The Government will hand out almost £1bn to councils for road repairs this year alone, but according to potholes.co.uk, that's still £1bn less than is needed annually for adequate road maintenance in England and Wales.