The UK government has released another tranche of £500 million (€573.4 million / US$693.5 million) under its five-year plan to repair potholes in England.
The money is the second such instalment from the UK Department of Transport’s £2.5 billion (€2.87 billion / $3.48 billion) Potholes Fund to be handed out to English county councils between 2020/21 and 2024/25.
The department said on average it takes around £50 (€57 / $69) to fix a pothole and there are around 10 million potholes to be repaired.
The latest instalment is part of wider funding the department is providing for road maintenance, totalling more than £1.1 billion (€1.26 billion / $1.53 billion) across England in 2021/22.
“Potholes are a symptom of an under-appreciated and underfunded network,” said Rick Green, chairman of the UK’s Asphalt Industry Alliance, a partnership of Mineral Products Association and Eurobitume UK – part of Eurobitume, the Brussels-based European Association of Bitumen Producers.
“To keep essential services across the country moving and looking to recovery post-COVID, what’s needed is further sustained investment in effective road maintenance. That will help improve the condition of our local roads to prevent potholes from forming in the first place.”
He noted that last year the alliance’s Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) Survey 2020 reported that it would now cost £11.2 billion (€12.8 billion / $15.5 billion) to bring our roads up to scratch – up from £9.31 billion (€10.7 billion / $13 billion) the year before.
“While cash-strapped local authorities will no doubt welcome this year’s allocation from the Pothole Fund, it is still a fraction of the amount that’s needed and will not address deteriorating conditions and the rising bill to put it right,” said Green.