Our roads ‘are getting worse’

A road sign created by car insurance company Confused.com. It is urging the Government to alert motorists to potholes
A road sign created by car insurance company Confused.com. It is urging the Government to alert motorists to potholes
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The overall condition of roads in the UK has plummeted over the winter, an AA survey has uncovered.

While 29 per cent of respondents reported their local roads in a terrible condition in October 2013, that had risen to 40 per cent by March 2014.

The Government is making £200m available to councils across Britain – and Lancashire is at the front of the queue.

The county is to get £2.2m to repair its potholed roads – but it has been slammed as “too little too late”.

Through its Streetwatch survey programme, the AA can reveal that while 18 per cent of the panel reported their local roads in excellent condition in October, this had fallen to 11 per cent by March.

Main roads fared no better, with 34 per cent rating them as terrible compared to 24 per cent last October. Trunk roads did not escape the impact of the very wet winter, with a decline of 10 per cent rating their condition as excellent between October and now.

Motorways too saw satisfaction fall, with 41 per cent rating their condition as fair before the winter, compared to only a third now.

AA president Edmund King said: “Our new data, along with the Alarm Survey, shows that Britain’s roads are ill-prepared for the economic recovery and unfit for purpose for many road users, such as cyclists and motorcyclists.

“It is unacceptable that each winter, whether it is frost or rain, our roads are crumbling and give way too easily.

“Bad surfaces with millions of potholes can cause death and injury, especially to those on two wheels, and lead to expensive damage and insurance claims.

“Government emergency handouts, like those recently for pothole repairs, are welcome, but are a sticking plaster rather than a cure that will properly repair our roads for the future.

“We must ensure our politicians recognise the crisis as we come up to local and general elections.”

The dire state of many UK roads has manifested itself in insurance claims processed by the AA’s insurance arm.

Claims for pothole-related damage to cars on Britain’s crumbling country roads and city streets has risen by 61 per cent per week from January 1 to March 12, compared with November and December 2013.

Simon Douglas, director of AA Insurance, said: “It takes serious damage to justify making an insurance claim, but over the first few weeks of 2014, an estimated 1,700 private cars have been damaged sufficiently seriously by potholes, to make it worth making a claim.”

Vehicle damage claims in Lancashire caused by potholes have soared by 273 per cent in a year, according to latest figures.