Potholes Policies – Election Success Or Damnation?

Local authorities have been told to publish which roads they will fix with government pothole funding. Potholes have become such an issue that plans to deal with them could lead to election success or damnation.

The Conservatives claim that £300m has come free after abandoning HS2 and that if they were to stay in power, the government would hold local authorities to account for resurfacing spending in a way it has failed to do in the past fourteen years.

As a condition of the funding and to make sure money is being spent on pothole repairs, local authorities are required to publish a 2-year plan detailing exactly which local roads will benefit.

Among the regions pledging to resurface the highest volume of roads are the West Midlands (600,000 square metres) and East Midlands (350,000 square metres), with plans outlined for problem spots across the country including the: A43 at Towcester, A164 between Beverley and Hessle and the A4146 at Leighton Buzzard.

Residents in areas such as Southport and Sunderland have already seen major resurfacing work take place.


The Department for Transport has already been clear with those local authorities that have failed to publish reports that they could see the withdrawal of future funding to resurface roads. Local people are encouraged to check their authority websites and see which roads are planned to be maintained.  

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, says: “We’re on the side of drivers, which is why this government is getting on with delivering our plan to invest an additional £8.3 billion in the biggest ever funding increase for local road improvements, made possible by reallocated HS2 funding.

“Alongside this unprecedented funding, which is already being used to improve local roads, we’re making sure local people can hold their local authority to account and see for themselves how the investment will be spent to improve local roads for years to come.”

Having submitted their first reports last month, councils will now also be required to submit quarterly reports from June 2024, announcing work which has taken place over 3 months, meaning local people will now regularly be able to scrutinise the progress their local authority is making to tackle potholes.

Harper adds: “For many councils, this may well be the first time they have reported their roads resurfacing plans in detail, so we would expect the overall quality of reporting from councils to improve over time and the department will keep the quality of their reporting under review in the interests of taxpayers. The government’s long-term plan to improve local road networks across the country could save motorists up to £440 on vehicle repairs and is the biggest ever uplift in funding for local road improvements.”



The reporting requirement has not only shown the areas which are planned to benefit but also highlighted how emerging techniques and equipment are being used by local authorities up and down the country to tackle potholes, including the use of durable carbon-neutral material in South Yorkshire, industry-leading ‘dragon patching’ equipment in Suffolk, innovative ‘pothole pro’ patching in Telford and Wrekin and artificial intelligence being used for highway inspections in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

Motorists will also be able to enjoy smoother journeys following the introduction of new measures to crack down on disruptive street works, with utility companies that allow works to overrun facing increased fines, which could generate up to £100 million extra to improve local roads. 



RAC Head of Policy, Simon Williams, says: It’s very encouraging to see so many local authorities quickly setting out how they’ll use the first tranche of the government’s reallocated HS2 funding to improve their roads. Drivers will be pleased to see potholes fixed and roads resurfaced, especially as our research shows the poor state of local carriageways is their number-one concern. We hope councils will also use this extra money to carry out vital surface dressing work which helps prevent cracking in the cold winter months by sealing roads against water ingress.”


Picture: Potholes have become so problematic they are an election winner or buster.


Article written by Cathryn Ellis
06th June 2024


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