Government stats show drivers face ‘plethora of potholes’

England’s A roads are “stuck in a rut” with motorists facing a “plethora of potholes”, according to Government data.

The condition of one in every 25 miles of A road managed by councils was in the worst “red” category in the year ending March, Department for Transport (DfT) figures show.

Roads are put in this classification if they should be considered for maintenance.

The DfT said the proportion of roads in the “red” category is “stable” following a slight increase during 2019/20.

There has been no improvement in the figures since 2015/16.

Minor roads are in an even worse condition, with nearly one in every 16 miles in the “red” category.

In some parts of the country at least 8% of main roads and more than 10% of minor roads need fixing.

The figures also show that the condition of 17% of unclassified rods was in the “red”.

Disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic contributed to the lowest levels of maintenance carried out since 2007/08 for A roads and since records began in 1984/85 for minor roads.

A recent AA survey indicated that nine out of 10 drivers want the Government to heavily heavily invest in fixing local roads.

The organisation’s head of roads policy Jack Cousens said: “While the Government claims road conditions are ‘stable’, the harsh reality is that they are stuck in a rut.

“Road users don’t have to travel too far from home to see a plethora of potholes, fractured tarmac, worn away surfaces and faded road markings which make driving and cycling uncomfortable at best and dangerous at worst.”

A car passes a pothole in Ashford in Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA)
A car passes a pothole in Ashford in Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA)

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes said: “Given that most roads looked after by councils are minor ones, it’s hugely concerning, and rather disappointing, that an increasing proportion are earmarked for maintenance, particularly with so many already in need of repair.

“What’s more, unclassified roads in more rural areas tend to have poor safety records compared to their major road counterparts, so crumbling infrastructure only adds to the risks faced by both drivers and cyclists.

“We had hoped that the fact so few people were using the roads last year because of the pandemic would have given councils a golden opportunity to catch up on much-needed road repairs.

“Sadly, this data appears to show there’s still a huge amount to be done.

“Given the vast sums drivers pay in taxes every year, it’s only reasonable for them to expect all roads to be in a good condition.”

A DfT spokesman said: “The Government is investing over £5 billion in roads maintenance over this Parliament, enough to fill in millions of potholes a year, repair dozens of bridges, and help resurface roads up and down the country.”