Councils urged to take steps to prevent potholes

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The pot-holes which continue to plague motorists across Britain will never be properly addressed until councils realise that “prevention is better than cure”, a new independent report has concluded.

A study commissioned by the Government has offered a string of recommendations to highways bosses centring around the conclusion it is better and cheaper to maintain roads before they begin to crumble, and that long-term savings can be made by ensuring repairs are carried out properly the first time rather than via a cheaper quick-fix.

Earlier this year the Yorkshire Post revealed the region’s road repair bill is now well over £700m, with councils spending only a fraction of that amount each year on road repairs.

The Government has previously announced it will spend £3bn over a four-year period to help improve British roads.

Transport Minister Norman Baker said yesterday it is important highways chiefs spend the money wisely and adopt approaches laid out in the new report.

“We all know the misery that potholes can cause to highway users and local communities, and the recent series of harsh winters has only served to intensify the situation,” Mr Baker said.

“We’ve given £3bn to councils for road maintenance over the next four years – but money can only go so far.

“The old adage rings true: prevention is indeed better than cure.

“I would urge all those involved with highways maintenance to adopt the approaches set out in this report.”

But motoring organisations, while welcoming the suggestions made in the study, said there is still insufficient funding to properly address Britain’s crumbling highways infrastructure.

Simon Best, chief executive of the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “Three billion pounds over four years is less than a quarter of what councils need to get the roads back into shape.

“It equates to around £20 per driver a year – a small amount in comparison to the money spent on car taxes and duties.”