AA calls for new pothole cash as councils face cut


Councils ‘desperately need’ more highway maintenance funding to address the deteriorating condition of local roads, the AA has said after its worst September fixing ‘pothole-related’ breakdowns for five years.

The motoring organisation said it attended 47,223 pothole-related breakdowns – for issues such as tyre, wheel, suspension or steering damage – last month, up 10% from September 2021 (42,152).

The AA said it has attended 458,391 pothole-related incidents so far in 2023, an average of 50,992 per month, and that if this trend continues, 2023 is on target to exceed 2019’s total (550,876).

It noted that central government cash for highway authorities under the Pothole Fund totals £700m in 2023-24.

This includes a £200m boost in this year's Budget that is not currently due to be replicated for 2024-25, meaning that councils are set to have less money next year than at present.

The AA called on the chancellor to provide more funding in his Autumn Statement, potentially from ‘redirected’ HS2 cash, but ministers may struggle to present cash that maintain spending at current levels as new funding.

Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: ‘The trend of pothole-related breakdowns continues to head in the wrong direction and 2023 still looks to be one of the worst years on record for pothole damage, again highlighting the need for more investment in local roads maintenance funding stronger than ever.

‘We know that longer-term funding has been pledged from HS2 savings but the chancellor has the opportunity to give some short-term pothole relief by announcing more cash for roads in his Autumn Statement.

‘There is a financial cost to vehicles damaged by potholes but there can be a cost in lives for those on two wheels damaged by potholes.’

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