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MPs launch inquiry into ‘plague of potholes’


The Transport Committee has launched an inquiry to tackle the “plague of potholes” on UK roads.

Funding and governance of local roads will come under scrutiny, following a three-year high in pothole-related incidents.

Transport Committee chair Lilian Greenwood MP described the UK’s pothole crisis as a “headache” that needs sorting out “sooner rather than later”.

“Local roads are the arteries of prosperous and vibrant towns and cities,” she said. “They are critical to the movement of goods as well as our own journeys. However, many people will not have to travel further than their local shops to see an extreme state of disrepair.

“This plague of potholes represents a major headache for all of us. The consequences of a deteriorating local road network are significant – undermining local economic performance and resulting in direct costs to motorists, through damage to road vehicles. The safety of other road users, particularly cyclists, is compromised.

She added: “Our inquiry aims to investigate the situation in England, including current funding constraints and potential alternative models that could offer a solution. We know that this is a high priority issue among the public and I hope our inquiry will help put the onus on the Government to address it sooner rather than later.”

According to Cycling UK, potholes have been a contributory factor in 22 deaths and 368 serious injuries to cyclists since 2007.

As part of the inquiry, the Committee calls for written evidence on several factors including the state of local roads, monitoring of roads, current approaches to maintenance and alternative funding models.

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Readers' comments (2)

  • The condition of the roads has been an issue since I joined the profession in 1976 in a highway department. It has got steadily worse since then as the ever larger amounts raised from motorist have been spent on anything but the roads. I don't think that effective privatisation of road maintenance helped. I have had three broken car springs to prove it! Perhaps what we need is the old system of two men, a tipper truck of tarmac and a whacker plate going round every day and filling in potholes as soon as they arise to reduce the deterioration and provide a stop gap solution until a proper repair can be carried out. Then again I suppose that is too old fashioned even if it did work.

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  • Our magazine quite rightly promotes the excellence of our engineering prowess, with stunning bridges, tunnels, airports, high speed rail, smart motorways, talk of a northern powerhouse, autonomous vehicles etc. How is then that we haven't the ability to maintain our existing infrastructure? The travelling public will judge us on what they experience from day to day, namely potholed roads and cancelled train services (particularly in the north of England).

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