Fixing a hole

16 February 2010
Motorists and skittery cyclists will be painfully aware of the pothole problem that has appeared in UK roads since the freezing weather began. The damage is opening up gaping holes in councils’ finances too. Gloucestershire council estimates that it will cost £5 million to fill in all the gaps. Bath and North East Somerset council has put aside an extra £3 million; Herefordshire thinks it’s going to cost about £5.5 million. Surrey and West Yorkshire have released an extra £500,000 each to pour into black holes. The Welsh Assembly Government is giving councils £2.75 million towards their pothole projects. Not to mention the £4.1 million needed to fill in the holes on the M65 near Blackburn, Lancashire, of which there are estimated to be 4,000 (HT can’t verify this, we just couldn’t resist the Beatles pun). What is probably not helping the potholes problem is the £47 million that councils forked out last year in compensation claims. “The situation is being made even worse by no win, no fee lawyers who are eating up almost half the road maintenance budget,” said a spokesman for the Local Government Association. “It’s madness that councils have to pay out so much in compensation when this could actually be spent filling in potholes. Councils need local people to help them out and report potholes when they see them.”
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