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Pothole-related car breakdowns ‘at a three-year high’

A large pothole near Ashford in Kent (Gareth Fuller/PA) Photo: PA Wire/PA Images

Councils are “not winning the battle” against potholes as related vehicle breakdowns between April and June reached a three-year high, a motoring organisation has warned.

The total of 4,091 call-outs received by the RAC was the most for the second quarter of a year since 2015.

Incidents included damaged shock absorbers, broken suspension springs and distorted wheels.

TRANSPORT Potholes Credit: PA Graphics

The period followed severe weather in February and March which saw widespread snow and ice.

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: “Our roads are still in a poor state of repair after the damage caused by the Beast from the East and the generally harsh late winter conditions the country experienced.

“Councils have been working hard to fix potholes and general road surface degradation, but despite further emergency funding from central government their budgets are even more stretched than in previous years.

“Our figures demonstrate they are not winning the battle and as a result the safety of too many drivers, cyclists and motorcyclists is being put at risk.

“The overall quality of our roads should be getting better, not worse.”

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One in five local roads in England and Wales is in a poor condition, a report by the Asphalt Industry Alliance warned.

Earlier this month the AA called for learner drivers to have to prove they can spot potholes to pass the driving test.

Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s transport spokesman, said: “Councils are fixing a pothole every 21 seconds.

“However, only long-term, consistent and fairer government investment in local road maintenance can allow councils to embark on the widespread improvement of our roads that is desperately needed.”

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “We have listened to the concerns of road users and are already providing councils in England with over £6 billion to help improve the condition of our local highways.

“This funding includes a record £296 million through the Pothole Action Fund – enough to fix around six million potholes.”