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Government pledges £168 million to fill potholes

The government will reward councils with best-practice pothole plans.

Councils will compete on their ability to fill potholes. The government is releasing £168 million to fill in three million of the buggers, with councils receiving a bigger share of the pot if they can demonstrate and regularly report best practice techniques to reduce pothole numbers over the next year.

Government is investing £168 million into pothole repair but councils will compete for greater pieces of the pie.
Government is investing £168 million into pothole repair but councils will compete for greater pieces of the pie.

In the UK, each pothole costs around £61 to fill. This is partly due to the increased number of drivers claiming compensation for damage to their cars. Some £32.9 million was paid in compensation from taxpayers’ money in England and Wales in 2013, up from £22.8 million in 2012. 

Councils such as Northamptonshire and Hampshire have already demonstrated best practices in highways maintenance. Northamptonshire qualified for £3.3 million after it created an effective real-time pothole monitoring system. The tracking tool helps it to deploy teams which can coordinate their schedules with better time management. Hampshire will get approximately £6 million to invest in equipment which fixes potholes and doubles up to grit roads in icy weather.

The use of the funding is very strictly limited to pothole repair and councils will be expected to provide quarterly reports for resident scrutiny. Patrick McLoughlin, Transport Secretary, said, “Potholes are the bane of all our lives and the funding announced today is an important step in ridding our roads of this menace. By building, repairing and renewing our key infrastructure we will ensure the future growth and prosperity of this country.”

Technology has been a key focus for the government’s battle with potholes. Earlier this year, the Department of Transport developed an app called ‘Fill That Hole‘ to allow cyclists and motorists to report potholes.

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