Motorists lose their patience over potholes

Large deep pothole an example of poor road maintance due to reducing local council repair budgets

Getting a puncture on your day off work, or finding out you've damaged your car's suspension is never good news at the best of times. But it's even more aggravating when you realise it could be due to the poor condition of our roads.

According to a recent survey commissioned for the RAC's 2015 Report on Motoring, the poor state of Britain's local roads is topping the list of motorists' concerns.
Questioning 1,500 motorists, the results revealed that one-in-ten drivers said the condition of local roads was their number one concern, while 20 per cent said it was one of their four main gripes.

In response to the survey, the RAC said the figures support the fact that the council should be under the same legal obligation to maintain UK roads, as they are to provide minimum standards for education and social services.

However, the Local Government Association (LGA) said current funding levels mean the council simply can't afford to carry out long-term improvements, leaving the roads to gradually worsen as bitter weather heads our way.

Of the 1,500 motorists polled, 50 per cent said the quality of their local roads had deteriorated in the past 12 months, and 99 per cent of those believe this was due to potholes. Only 10 per cent said they had improved, while the remaining 40 per cent reported no change.

Looking at the drivers' other pet hates, 24 per cent of those surveyed said litter was a key source of annoyance, while (for 21 per cent) poor maintenance of verges is also a hazard.

According to the Western Daily Press, RAC chief engineer David Bizley, said: "They are under specific legal obligation to provide minimum standards in education and social services whereas their obligations to maintain roads are far less prescriptive.

"It is therefore inevitable that expenditure is biased against investment in the likes of road maintenance where prescriptive legal obligations do not exist and councillors therefore do not face legal sanctions."

Councillor Peter Box, transport spokesman for the LGA, added: "While councils share the frustration of motorists at the state of our roads, it is impossible to compare repairing potholes with keeping children safe and caring for our elderly.

With demand on these life and death services continuing to rise and funding from central government continuing to reduce, councils have little choice but to squeeze budgets for other services."

He continued: "Current funding levels mean councils are only able to keep pace with patching up our roads and filling potholes rather than carrying out more cost-effective and long-term improvements."
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