WE know we’re preaching to the converted when we state the obvious fact that Britain’s roads are in a shocking state of repair.
Potholes mightn’t be the most glamourous of subjects but there’s no denying the fact that we all hate them. There are few things on the road as dangerous to riders as an unexpected chasm in the Tarmac.
You’d have thought that Kwik Fit would love a good pothole. After all, it’s the firm that plenty of car drivers will be going to when they need to replace rubber that’s been damaged by one or to get their tracking squared up after it’s been knocked out of line. However, the company has pulled together a study to establish the cost of potholes to Britain’s motorists and to pick out the areas where they’re most prevalent.
Using figures extrapolated from a survey of 2,051 motorists, Kwik Fit worked out that around 6.3 million UK road users will have suffered damage to their vehicles from potholes in the last year and paid an average of £108.60 each to get it rectified. That’s nearly £684 million. In the same period, only £13.5 million was paid out in compensation for pothole damage in England and Wales (according to the separate Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance – ALARM – survey).
Given that the survey splits the country into 11 areas, we’ll make this a ‘top 11’ and include them all.
On the plus side, remember that from 2020 all VED is supposed to be being ring-fenced and purely spent on the roads. It looks like that can’t come soon enough.
Welsh roads come the best in this survey. In total, 201,000 people suffered pothole damage, with repair costs that were way below average at just £61.83 each (total £12,427,830), suggesting that the potholes are less severe as well as less frequent. Is it because the population is less dense, giving the roads less of a hammering than in busier parts of the land?
10: The North East
With an estimated 343,000 vehicles damaged by potholes in the last year, NE England is nearly twice as bad as Wales, and thanks to higher repair bills averaging £72.66 apiece the total cost is fully twice the Welsh one at £24,922,380.
9: The East Midlands
Moving south a little we reach the East Midlands, where the total number of people affected by potholes rises to 365,000. Repair costs go up once again, now reaching £86.33 on average, for a total cost of £31,510,450.
8: West Midlands
On the other side of the country we see a massive jump in the number of people suffering pothole damage. In the West Midlands alone a massive 609,000 are reckoned to have been affected, each getting an average bill of £87,59. With a total cost of £53,342,310, the West Midlands is eighth on the list.
In fact fewer motorists in Scotland had their vehicles damaged by potholes than in the West Midlands – the survey puts the total at 521,000 – but the damage must have been more severe because the repair costs rose significantly. Each paid, on average, £109.02 for a fix, giving a total cost of £56,799,420.
6: North West England
With some 687,000 damaged vehicles, the total cost of repairs in North West England is put at £59,775,870. So on the plus side, the repairs were much cheaper than in Scotland at just £87.01 each. Still around £87.01 more than anyone wants to have to spend, though.
5: Eastern England
Want a tip? Don’t run into one of the cavernous potholes in the East of England. Only 457,000 vehicles were damaged in the last year, but on average the repair cost was £163.68 – the highest in the country. That gives a total cost of £74,801,760.
4: South West England
Head down to the South West and the repair costs drop to £119.01 on average, but the sheer number of vehicles damaged rockets to 721,000. That means the total cost to motorists (above and beyond the tax they pay on their vehicles and fuel) was £85,806,210
3: Yorks & Humber
Nearly as many vehicles were damaged in this area – 720,000 according to the survey – and the costs were near-identical to the South West as well, with repairs averaging £120 exactly. That adds up to £86,400,000 on the nose
You might have thought that traffic in London doesn’t move fast enough to be damaged by potholes but some 733,000 vehicles were harmed by them last year. The cost for each has been calculated at £124.65 on average, for a total cost to motorists of £91,368,450.
1: South East England
Putting the rest of the country in the shade, South East England’s roads managed to cripple 941,000 vehicles during the last year. According to Kwik Fit’s survey, each cost £114.93 to fix, on average, making for a runaway winner of the number one spot in this list, with the totalizer reaching £108,149,130.