Motorists warned of more pothole peril

Aside from the black ice, snow and meltwater drivers are being warned of a new danger on the roads. Yes, our old friend the pothole looks set to return with a vengeance as the winter weather ruins Britain's roads.

Car passing pothole
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Last year saw record levels of potholes reported but experts say this year could be even worse. And with snow expected to return to much of the country today, the AA has warned that motorists face a "knife edge situation".

The sharp rise in pothole numbers last year saw a record number filled as councils spent around £100 million repairing 1.4 million crumbling sections.

But it's unlikely they will be able to repeat the feat after this year's "potent mixture of weather conditions", because road maintenance budgets have been cut by up to 20 per cent.

An AA spokesman told The Telegraph: "Many roads are on borrowed time and that is significantly shortened when the weather is severe.

"After three successive bad winters, there is every indication that the pothole problem is going to be just as bad, if not worse, than last year."

Peter Box, chairman of the Local Government Association's Economy and Transport Board, suggested that the government has failed to properly invest in road maintenance, saying: "Unfortunately the outlook for motorists is not about to get any better.

"Local authorities faced with the perfect storm of crumbling roads and black hole in their budgets are going to have some incredibly difficult decisions to make when it comes to prioritising repairs in a way which best serves their areas."

However Norman Baker, local transport minister, insisted that the government will be investing £3 billion in road maintenance over the next four years as well as a further £6 million set aside to help local councils.

But he added: "Local councils should be managing their road maintenance throughout the year and in view of the last two winters we would expect winter maintenance to be a priority for them."

That, of course, remains to be seen.

What do you think? Has your local council done enough to repair the roads and how will they cope this year? Leave your comments below...