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Government ‘must recognise the significance’ of local roads

The RAC says there are still ‘far too many poorly maintained roads’, after revealing it attended nearly 1,500 pothole-related breakdowns in the last three months of 2020. An analysis of fourth quarter RAC breakdowns shows there were 1,461 call-outs for damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs and distorted wheels.

While the figure is down significantly compared to the same time in 2019 – as a result of lower traffic volumes caused by the Covid-19 pandemic – pothole-related issues account for the same proportion (0.9%) of all RAC call outs as Q4 2019.

The RAC says this “clearly demonstrates there are still far too many poorly maintained roads” – and is calling on the Government to “recognise the significance” of local roads.

In more positive news, the RAC’s Pothole Index, which is a long-term indicator of the health of the UK’s roads available, suggests the overall standard of road surfaces has been improving since the start of 2019.

Having begun at 1.0 in 2006, the index currently stands at 1.44 which means drivers are nearly one and a half times as likely to experience damage caused by a pothole as they were 15 years ago. However, at the end of Q3 2018, the figure stood at 2.63.

Nicholas Lyes, RAC head of roads policy, said: “As if 2020 wasn’t bad enough for other reasons, nearly 1,500 of our members have also had to endure unwanted, and no doubt expensive, damage to their vehicles caused by potholes and other road surface defects.

“While the actual number of pothole-related call-outs our patrols have attended is down significantly compared to the same time in 2019 due to lower traffic volumes in the pandemic, they account for the same proportion (0.9%) of all RAC rescues which clearly demonstrates there are still far too many poorly maintained roads.

“We realise council budgets are under incredible pressure due to the coronavirus, but we badly need the Government to recognise the significance of local roads and take a fresh look at how to fund them.”

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