Government to penalise pothole-making companies

The government has announced that it will penalise companies responsible for leaving potholes after carrying out street works.

According to the RAC, this change in the laws could prevent thousands of potholes being left behind by utility companies.

The RAC Pothole Index, which analyses pothole-related breakdowns together with the seasonal effects of the weather to give a true long-term indication of the condition of the UK’s roads, now stands at 1.63, up from 1.48 at the end of September 2021.

This means drivers are more than one-and-a-half times more likely to breakdown after hitting a pothole today than they were when the RAC started collecting this data back in 2006.

As part of the government’s new plan, a new performance-based inspections regime will be introduced which will attempt to identify the worst performing utility companies. They will then be inspected more regularly by local authorities.

It’s been found that utility companies are on average failing nine per cent of the inspections that are carried out on them but the worst performing utility company is failing a significant 63% of its inspections.

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes, said: “While roadworks are frustrating at the best of times, it’s even worse when utility companies leave roads in a sub-standard state when the temporary traffic lights are finally removed.

“Poorly carried out reinstatement work very often leads to road surfaces breaking down, unnecessarily causing potholes much to the annoyance of drivers.

“Introducing a performance-based inspections scheme should force utilities companies to raise their game and should ultimately lead to smoother and safer journeys for all road users.”