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Road pothole epidemic a national disgrace as AA calls for £1bn fund to repair network

Road pothole epidemic a national disgrace as AA calls for £1bn fund to repair network

Potholes are costing drivers and their insurers at least £1 million per month due to massive car repair bills, according to AA estimates.

Now the AA is calling on the government to fund pothole repairs by ring-fencing 2p per litre of current fuel duty to create a £1 billion fund, specifically for local councils so they can get on top of their pothole problem.

The AA says it has seen almost three times more pothole-related car insurance claims so far this year than it did over the same period in 2017.

The number of pothole claims made to the AA during the first four months of 2018 was more than for the whole of 2017.

Based on the AA’s share of the car insurance market, the broker estimates that there have been more than 4,200 claims for pothole damage so far this year in the UK. With an estimated average repair bill of around £1,000, that comes to an eye-watering £4.2 million, or more than £1 million per month.

On top of that, the number of breakdown call-outs for AA patrols to provide assistance following pothole damage has doubled.

Janet Connor, director of AA Insurance, said: “In most cases the damage caused by a pothole, such as a ruined tyre or two and perhaps a wheel rim, doesn’t justify making an insurance claim, due to the policy excess and the potential loss of your no claims discount. So the claims we are seeing are clearly much worse than that.

“Drivers are hitting potholes and ruining their suspension, steering, the underbody of the car or axles, and are occasionally being knocked off course and hitting other vehicles, kerbs or a lamp posts.

“This year we’re seeing a growing number of pothole claims described as ‘car severely damaged and undriveable’, which didn't happen at all last year.

“The pothole epidemic has become nothing short of a national disgrace. According to research by the AA, almost nine out of 10 (88%) drivers say roads are in a worse state now than 10 years ago. Our highways have become a national embarrassment.”

Commenting on the motoring organisation’s idea to ring-fence 2p per litre of fuel duty for pothole repairs, Ms Connor said: “With that funding, councils can then ‘fill it and make their local roads safe for all road users, whether on four wheels, two, or on foot. That way compensation payments, which could otherwise be used to keep roads in good repair, should dramatically fall.”