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Pothole carnage linked to local government crisis

According to new research from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), published on 29 April, potholes in the UK cost £14.4 billion annually, putting extra pressure on local authority budgets.

The research, the first of its kind, attempts to quantify the economic impact of potholes by assessing their impact through three different factors: damage to vehicles, accidents and drivers having to reduce speeds.

The bulk of the economic cost comes from longer journey times as nervous motorists attempt to limit the damage to their cars. Studies suggest that driving speeds are more than halved on a potholed road. The research takes into account the impact of potholes through damage to vehicles, accidents and drivers having to reduce speeds.

Using these studies, Douglas McWilliams, Deputy Chair of the CEBR, estimated that the UK’s potholed roads add an extra 1.3 billion hours to journey times, costing £12.7 billion when transferred into the government’s transport modelling tool.

The pothole crisis is also piling on pressure to local authorities’ budgets, with warning of potential bankruptcies to councils.

Pothole repairs and road maintenance are costly for local authorities and can put significant financial pressure on their budgets. It is estimated that clearing the backlog of maintenance issues in England could cost £12.1 billion and take 11 years to complete.

Local government debt has nearly doubled to £119 billion since 2010, as councils are increasing borrowing as a result of cuts in funding from Westminster. According to research from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR), published on 2 May, local authorities have borrowed £52 billion between 2010 and 2023. One of the factors driving increased borrowing is believed to be the ever-increasing cost of pothole repairs.

Published On: 07/05/2024 14:30:00


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