Manufacturer JCB has joined other firms to create a new partnership to tackle potholes as new figures reveal damage to vehicles is at a five year high.
The Pothole Partnership includes a five-point plan to tackle the issue, with the coalition of organisations, representing drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists, pedestrians and road repairers sending its ‘pothole pledge’ to central and local government. Included in the partnership are AA, the National Motorcyclists Council, British Cycling, IAM RoadSmart, the British Motorcyclists Federation and JCB.
The pledge includes calling on local authorities to limit temporary pothole repair, ensuring UK-wide standards and reporting, increasing spending on pothole funding, ringfencing all road maintenance, and delivering full transparency on the pothole backlog.
Additional research by the AA shows that the motoring organisation dealt with 631,852 pothole related incidents in 2023, the highest for five years. Last year, pothole damage to vehicles cost £474m, according to new figures.
The Partnership has welcomed extra funding for maintenance including the £8.3bn from HS2 but wants it ring-fenced and expenditure increased in the early years and used more effectively.
AA President Edmund King said: “Currently, we often have a vicious circle of: pothole formed; damage caused; pothole patched; pothole reappears with more damage caused – when what we need are more permanent repairs.
“Potholes are the number one concern for 96% of drivers and can be fatal for those on two wheels so hopefully pressure from the Pothole Partnership will lead to permanent repairs.”
JCB General Manager Ben Rawding said: “As we mark National Pothole Day, JCB is delighted to be part of the Pothole Partnership, a group committed to fixing Britain’s roads.
“Tackling the national backlog of potholes properly will involve investment in innovation and new technologies to ensure permanent fixes, not temporary repairs. Britain’s motorists, motorcyclists and cyclists deserve nothing less.”
British Cycling External Affairs Director Caroline Julian said: “We know from our members that potholes are a longstanding frustration and concern. They have tragic and fatal consequences that cannot be ignored. If we’re serious about fulfilling our ambitions to get more people cycling, we simply must ensure that our roads are safe and comfortable for them to ride on, and not the crater-filled carriageways they currently face.”
National Motorcyclists Council Executive Director Craig Carey-Clinch said: “The situation is becoming ever more acute for motorcyclists. Potholes and other road surface related defects are already shown to be extremely dangerous for motorcycle riders. The same pothole that damages a car, could prove fatal to a rider. Action is needed now to urgently clear the backlog of repairs. The NMC fully supports the Pothole Partnership and urges the Government to front load the £8.3billion that has been announced. The problem is now, not in seven- or nine-years’ time.”
Image from the Pothole Partnership