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Volunteers filling potholes

Filling the pothole backlog

One in five drivers would volunteer to fill potholes AA survey finds

One in five (20%) drivers would volunteer to fill in potholes for councils, potentially helping to cut the UK’s huge backlog of road surface repairs. This follows a rural scheme Devon County Council put into action last year.

The AA-Populus Driver Poll of 18,000 AA members shows that, while 21% of males would pick up shovels and join a road gang, 16% of women would also take on the pothole plague.

Pothole in road

The survey also found that;

  • 18 to 24 year olds were the age group most likely to volunteer (29%)
  • Drivers in Scotland, West Midlands and London are least likely to volunteer (all 17%) whilst those in Northern Ireland (25%) are keenest followed by those in South West (22%)
  • More than half (54%) say that those who volunteer should receive a reduction in their Council Tax Bill

While community spirit may be forthcoming for local authorities, three quarters (75%) said that local councils should not rely on the kindness of residents to deliver services they pay for. 

Troubled by potholes in your local area? Here's how to report a pothole

Confidence in repairs

The survey also found that any repairs carried out by volunteer teams would still have a long way to go in convincing drivers that their work is satisfactory. Only a quarter (25%) said that they would have confidence in repairs carried out by volunteers.

14 years

In October 2016 the Local Government Association claimed that under current funding provisions it would take 14 years and a cost of £12 billion to fix all of them.

In his first Autumn Statement, the Chancellor Philip Hammond released an extra £70m in 2017/18, enough to fill over 1.3 million potholes across England.

Fed up

Edmund King OBE, AA president said: “As local councils struggle with funding cuts some are turning to their residents and are asking for a helping hand.

We’re pleased to see that community spirit is alive and that residents want to do their bit, but in a sea of potholes their action is just a drop in the ocean
Edmund King OBE, AA president

“It shows that people are so fed-up with the state of their local roads that they are prepared to take matters into their own hands.

Skilled job

“But filling a pothole is a skilled job, getting it wrong could mean filling the same hole again soon afterwards, at an increased cost.

“Nevertheless, we’re pleased to see that community spirit is alive and that residents want to do their bit, but in a sea of potholes their action is just a drop in the ocean.

“What we really need is concerted Government investment, ring-fenced for road maintenance, over a number of years so that our roads can be restored to a decent state and we can stop the spiral of decline.

What we really need is concerted Government investment, ring-fenced for road maintenance, over a number of years so that our roads can be restored to a decent state
Edmund King OBE, AA president

“AA patrols are already reporting an increase in punctures due to pothole damage. The peril of potholes add to drivers’ costs and create a real danger for those on two wheels.”


 

Populus received 17,979 responses from AA members to its online poll between 13th and 20th December 2016. Populus is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules

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