Redbridge named as one of worst areas in the UK for potholes

PUBLISHED: 15:33 08 January 2019 | UPDATED: 15:33 08 January 2019

The Federation of Small Businesses has published pothole numbers and called for action to support road users and local firms. Picture: PA / Martin Keene

The Federation of Small Businesses has published pothole numbers and called for action to support road users and local firms. Picture: PA / Martin Keene

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Redbridge is one of the worst places in the UK for the number of potholes per kilometre, data reveals.

According to Yorkshire-based bicycle insurer The Insurance Emporium, the borough has seven potholes in its roads for every kilometre travelled on average.

This rating ranks the local authority as fifth worse in the UK, with first place going to the constituency of Na h-Eileanan Siar in the Outer Hebrides with a staggering 60.25 potholes every kilometre.

Despite having rollercoaster like bends, the area with the least potholes is the Unitary Authority of Northumberland with a score of 0.1 per kilometre.

UK pothole expert and Nottingham University professor Nicholas Thom said potholes are a fact of life, but the number of potholes will depend on how the local authority manages its repair strategy and the material of the road.

“More permeable surfaces, as permitted by Highways England and most local authorities, are cheaper and nicer to drive on – until they fall apart and form potholes,” he said.

“So the number of potholes per kilometre on a given authority’s roads depends not only on the repair budget, repair strategy, and the climate -frosts are bad news- but also on a historical policy choice, namely what surfacing materials to use -It is a choice that badly needs to be reviewed.”

The professor went on to explain that potholes are caused by water that gets into the road surface and is then squeezed by the action of high tyre pressures.

The situation is made worse by freezing and thawing.

“Very impermeable surfaces, such as hot rolled asphalt, are extremely pothole resistant but they are more expensive and less nice to drive on,” he added.

Council leader, Councillor Jas Athwal said: “In Redbridge we commit a substantial amount of funding to highway maintenance. “The council are committed to investing over £4m a year in our roads to repair defects before they cause potholes and ensure our highways are in the best possible condition for drivers. We regularly inspect our road network and will continue to prioritise our resources to ensure we deal with urgent repairs first.

“Unfortunately due to unprecedented government cuts to local councils in London – amounting to a 60per cent decrease in Redbridge funding since 2010 - it is increasingly difficult to allocate resources away from our vulnerable people and services to fix roads, however, we are committed to ensuring the best possible road surfaces for our residents and are constantly working to find innovative ways of repairing roads.

“We are grateful to those who report potholes to us and we encourage residents to continue to do so, this helps us complete the necessary action to keep road users safe. Anyone who sees a pothole in Redbridge can report it online at or by calling 02085545000.”

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