Can’t run the economy – can’t fix the roads

(Wrong sort of weather- cold and wet)

Devon potholes drop a quarter- But still 34,000 recorded this year

Ollie Heptinstall, local democracy reporter 

The number of recorded potholes in Devon is on track to be lower than last year, despite January’s total being the highest in a single month for three years.

Figures by Devon County Council, which excludes Torbay and Plymouth, shows 34,199 recorded potholes in the 11 full months of 2022/23, compared to 44,263 the previous year.

However, almost 7,400 were recorded in January, the most since March 2020. A report to be presented to a council scrutiny meeting on Thursday [23 March] blames this on “the cycle of very wet weather followed by very cold spells.”

It adds: “The number of potholes waiting for repair with our contractor peaked at almost 3,000 at the end of January, however through the use of additional and carefully coordinated resources this number reduced significantly on a day-to-day basis, with as many as 2,200 potholes being repaired each week.

“This has been achieved by doubling the number of pothole gangs across the network from 20 to 40, as well as additional hours and weekend working.”

It comes as the government announced a further £9.4 million for pothole repairs in Devon this week, as part of £200 million extra for the whole country in chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s budget.

County council leader John Hart (Conservative, Bickleigh & Wembury) said: “I’m delighted that the chancellor has announced extra money for us to tackle potholes.

“I’d like to thank all our MPs for their support, especially those identified by the chancellor who he said had lobbied very strongly on our behalf.”

Tory MPs Selaine Saxby (North Devon), Gary Streeter (SW Devon) and Anne Marie Morris (Newton Abbot) were all given a mention at the dispatch box by Mr Hunt.

Councillor Stuart Hughes (Conservative, Sidmouth), Devon’s highways chief, said this winter’s weather has had significant impact on the condition of Devon’s 8,000-mile road network – the longest in England.

“We’ve seen the worst conditions for potholes, with torrential rain and very cold snaps that have played havoc with the condition of our roads.

“We welcome this additional funding, which will contribute to our extensive maintenance and repair programme.”

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