Lack of council funding means pothole woe will continue for region's motorists

The Northern Echo: A pothole in Orchard Road, Darlington A pothole in Orchard Road, Darlington

COUNCILS across the North East are doing their best to fix the potholes littering our roads - but can't repair them all unless the government is prepared to spend billions, according to the AA.

Figures requested by The Northern Echo under the Freedom of Information Act show that local authorities are repairing thousands of potholes each year, and spending thousands of pounds, but complaints from motorists about the state of the roads continue.

Each North-East council records data about pothole repairs and the money spent differently, but the figures show the scale of the task facing each authority.

Paul Watters, a spokesman for motoring organisation the AA, said potholes are not going away any time soon.

He added: “There is never enough in the budget for councils to catch up to its backlog and have its roads up to date.

“The government has given £140m for pothole repairs but that is a drop in the ocean.

“Councils are doing their best with what they’ve got. Unless there is long term investment with some meaningful money we are probably facing a decade of repairs.”

Durham County Council started recording potholes for the first time in April 2013 and by February this year had counted 12,363 potholes.

Terry Collins, corporate director of neighbourhood services, said: “It is acknowledged there is a significant backlog across the country and surveys in County Durham show we experience similar problems.

“The council has increased its investment in highways as it is recognised as a priority area for our residents.”

North Yorkshire County Council, with the largest highway network in the region, does not break down its statistics to record individual potholes.

The authority has set aside £5m for repairs and received £3.2m from the government.

Councillor Gareth Dadd, executive member for highways, said the authority was facing a repair bill running into hundreds of millions of pounds but that all funding was welcomed.

The smaller local authorities in the Tees Valley all report that they have recorded and repaired thousands of potholes since 2008/2009.

A spokeswoman for Darlington Borough Council said maintaining the town’s road network was a priority but budget constraints meant not all roads and footpaths could be tackled, with substantial repairs prioritised.

Middlesbrough Council received £140,000 from the pothole repairs fund, which Councillor Nicky Walker, executive member for environment, described as “a drop in the ocean”.

She added: “With the additional funds we will be undertaking a combination of patching and drainage improvement work.”

Coun Walker’s comment was echoed by Coun Helen McLuckie, of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, who said:”When you consider the overall condition of the road network and the lack of funding in recent years, the amount available is a drop in the ocean to what is needed to repair all of the borough’s roads.”

Stockton and Hartlepool councils both said that highway repairs were a priority and that their budgets reflected the need for investment in the system.

Comments (11)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

8:32am Tue 22 Apr 14

thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth says...

This is a national embarrassment and a disgrace. The gocernment are more than happy to take the tax off us though aren't they.
This is a national embarrassment and a disgrace. The gocernment are more than happy to take the tax off us though aren't they. thetruthyoucanthandlethetruth
  • Score: 10

8:58am Tue 22 Apr 14

Steve- says...

Perhaps if the council did away with overpaid non jobs such as Gay and lesbian outreach workers etc, reduce the chiefs outrageous salaries and pensions/perks etc we could have the roads repaired but somehow I don't think this will happen. Rather we will be heavily fined for some minor parking infraction on pot hole infested roads instead. Pot holes it seems are the only thing left that are actually made in this country.
Perhaps if the council did away with overpaid non jobs such as Gay and lesbian outreach workers etc, reduce the chiefs outrageous salaries and pensions/perks etc we could have the roads repaired but somehow I don't think this will happen. Rather we will be heavily fined for some minor parking infraction on pot hole infested roads instead. Pot holes it seems are the only thing left that are actually made in this country. Steve-
  • Score: 10

9:51am Tue 22 Apr 14

stevegg says...

This is what happens when less than half the population is paying tax and there is widescale tax avoidance sanctioned by governments who are currently implementing huge cuts in a belated attempt to save the UKs crumbling economy, add in the fact that the majority of our road system was devised in Victorian times when horse and cart ruled, has changed little and that there are an ever increasing number of vehicles using these crumbling roads (circa 35 million and climbing) is it any wonder? Cut the overseas aid budget of over £10 billion by 10% and that would help.
This is what happens when less than half the population is paying tax and there is widescale tax avoidance sanctioned by governments who are currently implementing huge cuts in a belated attempt to save the UKs crumbling economy, add in the fact that the majority of our road system was devised in Victorian times when horse and cart ruled, has changed little and that there are an ever increasing number of vehicles using these crumbling roads (circa 35 million and climbing) is it any wonder? Cut the overseas aid budget of over £10 billion by 10% and that would help. stevegg
  • Score: 7

10:04am Tue 22 Apr 14

Davy Crocket says...

Today's Governments are obsessed with pandering to a few noisy crows whilst ignoring the entitlements of the quiet majority. That road leads to certain ruin and we are well on our way. Think of the West like the declining Roman Empire.
Today's Governments are obsessed with pandering to a few noisy crows whilst ignoring the entitlements of the quiet majority. That road leads to certain ruin and we are well on our way. Think of the West like the declining Roman Empire. Davy Crocket
  • Score: 6

11:18am Tue 22 Apr 14

JJ2000 says...

"... but can't repair them all unless the government is prepared to spend billions..."
The Government does spend billions. Just not on things that matter.

"There is never enough in the budget for councils to catch up to its backlog and have its roads up to date."
Apparently elevators, corporate bungs, roundabouts, building unworkable through-roads and bypasses are more important.

On a plus note, there's more than £20b in tax evasion they can focus on, that will give them plenty of cash to not spend where it is needed.
"... but can't repair them all unless the government is prepared to spend billions..." The Government does spend billions. Just not on things that matter. "There is never enough in the budget for councils to catch up to its backlog and have its roads up to date." Apparently elevators, corporate bungs, roundabouts, building unworkable through-roads and bypasses are more important. On a plus note, there's more than £20b in tax evasion they can focus on, that will give them plenty of cash to not spend where it is needed. JJ2000
  • Score: 5

12:12pm Tue 22 Apr 14

bambara says...

"Think of the West like the declining Roman Empire."
A very good analogy, in its declining days the levels of inequality in the Roman empire expanded rapidly, the rich elite gathered ever more resources to themselves and the poor majority were left with ever less.
As the farm size (and associated income) of the poor peasants reduced to the point where it was impossible to even subsist many abandoned them (illegally under Roman law) and became outlaws. When the Barbarians later crossed the borders, the people had little reason to defend the empire. It made little difference to them who the ruling rich elite were.
"Think of the West like the declining Roman Empire." A very good analogy, in its declining days the levels of inequality in the Roman empire expanded rapidly, the rich elite gathered ever more resources to themselves and the poor majority were left with ever less. As the farm size (and associated income) of the poor peasants reduced to the point where it was impossible to even subsist many abandoned them (illegally under Roman law) and became outlaws. When the Barbarians later crossed the borders, the people had little reason to defend the empire. It made little difference to them who the ruling rich elite were. bambara
  • Score: 0

12:15pm Tue 22 Apr 14

bambara says...

Note also, private companies now do the work of filling potholes, and resurfacing roads.
The repairs don't seem to last as long now though do they?
Private companies do though seem much more efficient at siphoning off profit for the private sector.
Note also, private companies now do the work of filling potholes, and resurfacing roads. The repairs don't seem to last as long now though do they? Private companies do though seem much more efficient at siphoning off profit for the private sector. bambara
  • Score: 3

2:22pm Tue 22 Apr 14

MartinMo says...

With all the advertisments in regards to having accidents which you can pass the blame you can sue the buttocks of them. If I hit a pot hole which causes a blow out which in turn causes me to crash, wrecking my car and causing personal injuries, can I sue the local council for not carrying out needed repairs which through various taxations I have paid towards getting them fixed?
With all the advertisments in regards to having accidents which you can pass the blame you can sue the buttocks of them. If I hit a pot hole which causes a blow out which in turn causes me to crash, wrecking my car and causing personal injuries, can I sue the local council for not carrying out needed repairs which through various taxations I have paid towards getting them fixed? MartinMo
  • Score: -1

2:57pm Tue 22 Apr 14

durhamchap says...

With the comparatively mild winter this year councils would surely not have to spend so much on gritting and I would assume the grit they have can be stored until next winter - so surely a large pot of money from this could be put towards road maintenance ?
With the comparatively mild winter this year councils would surely not have to spend so much on gritting and I would assume the grit they have can be stored until next winter - so surely a large pot of money from this could be put towards road maintenance ? durhamchap
  • Score: 6

7:20pm Tue 22 Apr 14

oliviaden6 says...

If the councils repaired the potholes correctly in the first place and not just throw a shovel of out of date tarmac into a hole and whack it down with another shovel we might get some where, Because at the moment they are going over and over again with the above antics and the costs are mounting and mounting. Do it right in the first place and it can be forgotten about.
If the councils repaired the potholes correctly in the first place and not just throw a shovel of out of date tarmac into a hole and whack it down with another shovel we might get some where, Because at the moment they are going over and over again with the above antics and the costs are mounting and mounting. Do it right in the first place and it can be forgotten about. oliviaden6
  • Score: 2

1:45am Thu 24 Apr 14

Spy Boy says...

oliviaden6 wrote:
If the councils repaired the potholes correctly in the first place and not just throw a shovel of out of date tarmac into a hole and whack it down with another shovel we might get some where, Because at the moment they are going over and over again with the above antics and the costs are mounting and mounting. Do it right in the first place and it can be forgotten about.
I've seen this at first hand. Potholes filled and leveled and the first bus that went over it pulled it all out again. There is a right way and the Darlington way. I suggest that you all contact the council the very next time that your car is damaged by hitting a pothole. If the cost of repairing cars gets higher than the council pay on potholes, they may have to do the job properly. Just take note of the time and date and take a photo of the damage and the pothole. Put something into the photo that will give it a scale, get an estimate and send in your claim.
[quote][p][bold]oliviaden6[/bold] wrote: If the councils repaired the potholes correctly in the first place and not just throw a shovel of out of date tarmac into a hole and whack it down with another shovel we might get some where, Because at the moment they are going over and over again with the above antics and the costs are mounting and mounting. Do it right in the first place and it can be forgotten about.[/p][/quote]I've seen this at first hand. Potholes filled and leveled and the first bus that went over it pulled it all out again. There is a right way and the Darlington way. I suggest that you all contact the council the very next time that your car is damaged by hitting a pothole. If the cost of repairing cars gets higher than the council pay on potholes, they may have to do the job properly. Just take note of the time and date and take a photo of the damage and the pothole. Put something into the photo that will give it a scale, get an estimate and send in your claim. Spy Boy
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree