'Like the surface of the moon': The damage being done to our cars by increasing potholes

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Liz Summers

A record rise in pothole-related breakdowns on UK roads has been recorded.

The RAC said many roads “resemble the surface of the moon” after receiving 4,694 call-outs for vehicles likely damaged by potholes between January and March.

That was a three-fold increase on the total of 1,461 during the final three months of last year, representing the breakdown rescue firm’s largest rise between quarters.

Some 2.4% of all call-outs attended by its patrols between January and March were for pothole-related issues such as distorted wheels, broken suspension springs or damaged shock absorbers.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes described many roads as being in a “desperate state”, which indicates that some councils are “simply patching up potholes rather than fixing them properly”.

He continued: “Many drivers are finding themselves having to use roads that in places better resemble the surface of the moon.”

Mr Lyes said the particularly cold start to the year caused “extensive damage”, as potholes are formed by water seeping into cracks and expanding when frozen.

It costs an average of £50 to repair a single pothole according to the government Credit: ITV News Anglia

It was the coldest January across the UK since 2010, with an average temperature of just 2.2C, according to the Met Office.

Mr Lyes also reiterated calls to give local authorities ring-fenced funds over a five-year period for longer-term road maintenance, urging the Government and councils to “commit to doing something differently”.

A spokesman for the Local Government Association said: “Despite the pandemic, councils have been working hard to repair our roads, fixing a pothole every 19 seconds as well as supporting an increase in other infrastructure through temporary road measures.

“Councils want to continue to improve our roads and deliver the infrastructure improvements that allow people to move around in less carbon-intensive and more sustainable ways.”

Credit: PA

The government announced a new £2.5 billion Potholes Fund in the 2020 Budget intended to fix up to 50 million potholes over five years and provide longer-term road resurfacing works to prevent potholes from appearing in the first place.

A report by trade body the Asphalt Industry Alliance published last month stated that councils in England and Wales would need to spend a total of £10 billion over a decade to bring all their pothole-plagued roads up to scratch.

  • Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Natalie Gray

Councils across England were allocated their 2021/22 share of £500 million for highways maintenance in February - the second installment of five from the government. With the average pothole costing around £50 to fill in, the funding will ensure that the equivalent of 10 million potholes can be rectified, making thousands of local roads both safer and easier to drive and cycle on.

The East of England was allocated £8.5 million

  • £10.25 million - Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority

  • £1.66 million - Bedford

  • £2.47 million - Central Bedfordshire

  • £13.64 million - Essex

  • £9.88 million - Hertfordshire

  • £0.76 million - Luton

  • £2.84 million - Milton Keynes

  • £15.89 million - Norfolk

  • £8.48 million - Northamptonshire

  • £1.06 million - Rutland

  • £0.77 million - Southend

  • £12.11 million - Suffolk

  • £1.11 million - Thurrock