The beastly weather in recent months has left roads up and down the country plagued with potholes. To help with repairs, the government has announced an extra £100 million of funding to be distributed across councils in England. This comes on top of funds made up from the Pothole Action Fund and a further pre-Christmas government boost totalling £120 million.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: “We have seen an unusually prolonged spell of freezing weather, which has caused damage to our local roads.” He went on to say that the additional funding would mean “all road users can enjoy their journeys without having to dodge potholes.” However, the reaction from various local councillors has been fairly mixed.
Rising costs and claims
Various council leaders have praised the government for listening to and addressing concerns, but many have questioned whether enough funding is available. It’s argued that backlogs of repair works in many areas requires greater funding, which will also help to curb complaints and damage claims.
Local councils are often on the receiving end of claims and compensation payouts to motorists because of potholes. A recent study found that councils across the UK have paid out over £43 million in compensation over the last five years alone. It’s understandable that they would want to increase proactivity on pothole repairs, and the new government funding will help to combat this.
Could plastic be the answer?
Further government money is being earmarked for councils to trial new technologies that could prevent further road damage. One such solution currently in testing is to repurpose plastic waste when resurfacing the roads. These so-called ‘plastic roads’ aim to last longer while also being environmentally and economically friendly.
Single-use plastics can be melted down and converted into pellets to be used in asphalt production. The plastic acts as a binding agent that is stronger than traditional bitumen, lowering dependence on fossil fuel and freeing up landfill waste. Three councils are presently testing the use of plastics in road surfacing, with high hopes that positive results could indicate much fewer potholes in the future.