Potholes tally rises as councils struggle to fill them all in

...but Oxford student has his own green-fingered methods

by Tom Henry   February 10, 2010  

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A record number of potholes was reported to the CTC in January, almost 3,000 more than during the same month last year.

More than 3,500 holes were reported to the CTC's dedicated pothole website, www.fillthathole.org.uk reflecting the harsh weather over Christmas and the New Year that gouged great holes in road surfaces across the UK.

 And February isn't looking much better, either. So far, almost 1,000 holes have been reported, beating the entire tally for February 2008.

The CTC has also published a league table of councils and their responses to reported potholes. Top of the pots comes Kensington and Chelsea, with 55 reported holes and 53 of those now fixed. Snow and flood-stricken Cumbria was faced with 252 holes, but despite everything has managed to repair 210. Further down we have Devon, which has repaired 178 of 471 reported holes. In the doldrums is Dumfries and Galloway, with a measly eight holes repaired and 100 to go.

Roger Geffen, the campaigns director for the CTC told the Guardian: "We've had a substantial spike in reports but councils are taking notice and acting upon it, filling them in. The problem is they can't get everywhere to find them in the first place." He estimates that at least 30-40 per cent of the holes that are reported are dealt with.

The Local Government Association has asked the Department of Transport for emergency funds of £100m to deal with the most pressing repairs. In 2009, councils filled 968,195 potholes – or one every 33 seconds.

However, a student in Oxford is taking matters into his own hands and filling up the city's roads with primroses. Pete Dungey, a graphic design student, is busy doing a bit of urban gardening as part of a series of public installations highlighting the problem of surface imperfections on Britain's roads.

"It began as part of a project called 'subvert the familiar'," he said "I wanted to do something that would grab attention but also raise awareness of an issue, and so the project was born. I have been planting the gardens for about a fortnight now and see it as an ongoing thing."

"Potholes are a big problem that could be eradicated quite simply. Hopefully it's something that grabs attention and raises awareness although I wouldn't call myself a renegade cyclist."

If you see/fall into a pothole report it to www.fillthathole.org.uk and they will make sure the relevant council are notified.