UK cracks down on those creating “plague of potholes”


Motorists will benefit from smoother journeys in the UK, as well as better connected communities and reduced congestion, as their Government introduces new measures to penalise companies responsible for leaving potholes on the country’s roads after carrying out street works.

It is expected the new law change could prevent thousands of potholes being left behind by utility companies nationwide, and will ensure more roads are resurfaced to a high standard. This will spare motorists from damage to car tyres or suspensions caused by driving over potholes, helping them save money on expensive repairs.

A new performance-based inspections regime will be introduced, where the worst performing utility companies whose road works fail to meet strict standards will face financial penalties. These companies will go on to be inspected more regularly by local authorities to ensure their work meets rigorous criteria and they leave roads in a good condition.

While the majority of companies carry out street works to a high standard and pass inspections, utility companies are on average failing nine per cent of the inspections that are carried out, and the worst performing utility company is failing a significant 63 per cent of its inspections. I bet it is even worse in most cases here in Ireland.

The new regime supports the British Government’s commitment to improving transport and infrastructure at a local level, ensuring people across the country can more easily access local work, education and opportunities while reducing car maintenance costs.

The move follows the British Government investing more than £5 billion over 2020-2025 into highways maintenance, including the ‘Potholes Fund’ announced at Budget 2020. This funding settlement allows local authorities to plan effectively for managing their roads and is enough to fill millions of potholes a year, repair dozens of bridges, and resurface roads up and down the country.

The measures will also help to ease congestion across the UK. Companies will now be required to provide local authorities and their Department for Transport’s street manager service with more up to date and accurate data on live road works.

Companies will be asked to provide information about when works start and stop at weekends and all local authorities must send start/stop information about their works. This will update sat navs and other apps so motorists are aware of where road works are happening and can avoid those areas – preventing traffic from building up.

Plans will also help speed up broadband rollout across the country, through exemptions to restrictions on works for new customer connections. One third of all road works are carried out by telecoms operators. The Government will allow exemptions to restrictions which prevent or slow down these companies applying to carry out necessary works.