Far less local authority funding is going towards repairing potholes in rural counties than is the case in urban areas, according to new research.

A postcode lottery

A study by the County Councils Network (CCN), based on revenue expenditure and capital investment last year, examined exactly what was being spent on filling potholes, resurfacing, winter readiness and streetlight repairs.

It was discovered that the so-called shire counties were able to spend just £20,885 per mile on road repairs and other expenses in 2019, while 36 urban metropolitan councils received £41,929 per mile.

Meanwhile, eight ‘core cities’ in England spent £57,241 per mile – and in London, the total was a significantly higher £62,350 per mile.

To single out just one of the shire counties, the study found the total per mile spend for Yorkshire was half that on London.

The CCN has warned funding is being disproportionately skewed against rural areas and called for the government to make a long-term commitment that will ‘level up’ investment.

Chair of the organisation David Williams said: “Today’s analysis shows that county motorists are clearly the poor relation to drivers in London and other cities when it comes to how much gets spent on fixing potholes and improving the local road network, with drivers across the country facing a pothole lottery.”

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport insisted it is up to local councils to prioritise spending in their areas.

The government has pledged to contribute £2 billion for pothole repairs over the next four years after investing a one-off fund of £420 million in 2018.

According to the Federation of Small Businesses, more than 700,000 new potholes were reported on the country’s highways during 2019 – 13 per cent more than the year before.

Heather Stark, brand manager at The Fuelcard People, comments: “Potholes continue to be a scourge on our roads and it will be disheartening for rural drivers to hear they may be receiving less favourable treatment than their urban counterparts.”

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