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A new report has confirmed the pothole epidemic. According to LV=Road Rescue there are nearly 12,000 miles of roads blighted by potholes. LV reports calculates that is the equivalent of travelling half way across the world from London to Wellington, the capital of New Zealand. The report also found that one motorist in seven has suffered vehicle damage as a result of driving on poorly maintained roads.

Freedom of Information requests to all borough, city and county councils revealed that there iare 31,162 potholes awaiting repair on 11,564 miles of roads. As only two-thirds of local authorities supplied data the actual figures could be much higher.

“The LV survey underlines the pothole epidemic following years of under-investment in our local road network,” said Howard Robinson. “Local authorities are working hard to address the problem but funding restrictions means that many can only carry out emergency patch-and-mend repairs rather the planned programmes of road maintenance which would prevent the potholes appearing in the first place.”

He continued: “Despite Government pledges of more funding for road maintenance it is not enough. The £12 billion backlog of repairs means that local authorities are running to stand still.”

The pressures facing local authority road maintenance budgets are exacerbated by compensation bills for damaged vehicles which cost local authorities over £1.6million last year. The average repair bill for pothole damage to cars is £267. The compensation bill could be much higher as according to LV only 53% of motorists know that they can claim for pothole damage.

“The LV findings underline the need for funding for road maintenance to be increased. Decades of under-investment cannot be addressed by a couple of headline grabbing pledges. What is needed is real long-term funding that enables councils to carry out long-term road maintenance programmes,” said Robinson.