HOW TO NOMINATE A HUGE POTHOLE ON A ROAD NEAR YOU
If you want us to fix a massive pothole on a road near you, then we want to see just how bad it is!
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org following the three steps below:
1. Send an email with the subject heading ‘POTHOLE’.
2. Please attach an image no bigger than 2MB of the pothole.
3. Include a brief description of the pothole and just how bad you think it is.
4. Tell us of its whereabouts, including the road name and closest city, town or village.
5. Include your full name and a telephone number in case we need to contact you to find out further details about the pothole you’ve nominated – and potentially fix it.
We will choose a selection of the worst potholes you’ve nominated and put it to a reader vote on which one should be repaired by JCB’s PotholePro free of charge.
Personal details will not be shared with any third parties.
It’s a well-known fact that Britain’s roads are riddled with potholes.
One insurer says crater-related vehicle damage claims are up by a third compared to 2016, while funding dedicated to maintaining our roads is shrinking, according to the latest analysis.
So it’s about time someone does something about it!
That’s why MailOnline and This is Money have teamed up with JCB to find the biggest pothole in the country.
And when we find it, we’ll fix it for free!
To mark National Pothole Day tomorrow (Sunday 15 January), we want you to nominate the largest road crater in your area.
We’ll put a selection of the worst entries to a reader vote on which one is the most shocking – and then we’ll send in JCB and its PotholePro machine to repair it in eight minutes flat!
The British construction, industrial and agricultural vehicle specialist launched the bespoke PotholePro digger in 2021 – and its sole purpose is to repair our roads to the highest standard and in record time.
It is the most efficient vehicle of its type, providing the repair capability usually required from three separate machines and can fix a pothole-riddled patch of tarmac in just eight minutes at a cost of just £30 – that’s half the cost of a repair using traditional methods (£60).
Its development was led by JCB chairman, Lord Bamford, who describes potholes as the ‘scourge of our nation’ and an issue that he is ‘personally’ fixated on finding a solution’ to eradicate.
‘We simply cannot allow our road network to continue to be blighted by potholes,’ he said when it was unveiled two years ago.
Last year, we witnessed first-hand the PotholePro in action as it went head-to-head against a traditional highway maintenance crew to fix a crater-stricken street in the Staffordshire town of Longton.
It proved six times faster than the ‘hand lay gang’.
To mark National Pothole Day on Sunday 15 January, we want you to nominate the largest crater in your area. When a winner is chosen, JCB will send this, the PotholePro, to complete a permanent repair on the crater
The British construction, industrial and agricultural vehicle specialist launched the PotholePro in 2021. Its sole purpose is to repair potholes to the highest standard and in record time
The machine can fix a crater-riddled patch of tarmac in just eight minutes at a cost of just £30 – that’s half the cost of a repair using traditional methods
Since being made available to authorities two years ago, JCB says fleets of the machine have been responsible for keeping potholes at bay on around 30,000 miles of roads in the UK and Ireland – and they’ve successfully launched the PotholePro in markets as far afield as Australia.
Closer to home, some 50 different councils and contractors will have taken delivery of the machine by the end of 2023.
The machine costs in the region of £200,000, though it can also be leased on a monthly basis from JCB.
Highlands Council and Cumbria County Council are using their JCB Pothole Pros to maintain their 5,000 miles of road network. And the adapted digger is also deployed on almost a third of the entire Scottish road network.
JCB PotholePro sales manager Ben Rawding told us: ‘The JCB Pothole Pro is making a big impact across the UK and has won a reputation for fixing potholes quickly and permanently in both rural villages and big cities.’
Here’s how JCB’s PotholePro repairs a potholed road in only four steps and just eight minutes
Pothole-related vehicle damage claims are up a third since 2016
National Pothole Day might not be the most renowned diary entry of the year, but with the condition of Britain’s roads falling into a state of disrepair, it’s become an important date in the calendar for raising awareness of the increasing plight facing drivers, motorcyclists and cyclists alike.
Admiral’s latest car insurance data says it received 34 per cent more pothole-related motor insurance claims in 2022 than it did six years prior.
The insurer says last month’s icy snap is likely to cause even more cracks to open up in Britain’s roads, which in turn is set to see a spike in motorists launching claims for damage to their car’s tyres, alloy wheels, steering and suspension.
Admiral says it has seen a 34% rise in the number of pothole-related claims it receives from customers since 2016 – a clear sign that more needs to be done to bring Britain’s roads up to scratch
However, potholes are not only causing damage to vehicles but are having fatal consequences.
Already in 2023 we have seen a number of high-profile cases of the threat they pose, sometimes lethal.
It was reported in early January that Harry Colledge, an 84-year-old retired music teacher and cycling club president, became the latest casualty having been killed while riding his bike on a rural road near the Lancashire village of Winmarleigh.
Reports say the father of three fell from his bike when the front wheel got stuck in a deep crack in the road.
Latest Government figures show that at least 425 cyclists have been killed or injured due to poor or defective road surfaces since 2016.
British boxing ace, Tony Bellew, this month also took to Twitter to slam a local council after claiming he ‘nearly lost my car with three kids in it’ after hitting two potholes while driving his Mercedes-Benz.
The former WBC Cruiserweight title holder, 40, wrote off two tyres on his luxury car after hitting the two craters in Ormskirk, Lancashire, saying he was unable to avoid them without having to swerve into oncoming traffic to go around the obstructions.
The former boxing cruiserweight champion posted a Tweet showing the potholes that caused the damage and the written-off tyres
Which region has the worst roads?
Two recent studies into the state of Britain’s roads suggest the North West has the biggest pothole problem of all.
Lime Solicitors said that councils in Lancashire have paid out the most in compensation for injuries caused by craters.
These are the five areas where the most pothole-related compensation has been paid out to people in 2017-2021
Authorities across England and Wales have paid out more than £32million in 5,596 personal injury claims linked to accidents caused by potholes over the five-year period between 2017 and 2021, its research found.
Lancashire paid out more than any other town hall, generating a massive bill worth more than £11million.
And a poll conducted by the AA just weeks ago also found that drivers in the North West – as well as the South East – believe they have the worst roads in the UK.
More than 12,000 motorists were asked to rate the quality of local road surfaces where they live, with more than half (53 per cent) in the North West and South East saying their routes are in a dire state.
Drivers in Eastern England completed the top three regions where people believe the quality of roads is worst, with 51 per cent claiming the condition of residential roads in the area are terrible.
Meanwhile, London was deemed to have the best kept residential streets in England (42 per cent), although those regularly using the Capital’s pock-marked roads may be surprised to hear this.
Half of Scottish drivers (50 per cent) said their roads were poor, with two fifths (41 per cent) of Welsh streets considered terrible and 37 per cent of local roads in Northern Ireland.
Research has revealed that Government funding towards highway maintenance is in decline, meaning fewer potholes are likely to be fixed in the coming years
While the pothole situation is getting worse, funding to repair them is shrinking…
Despite the growing concerns around the volume of potholes in Britain, drivers are warned they are in for a bumpy ride over the next few years as essential spending on the upkeep of our road networks has been slashed.
Research shows annual funding for highway maintenance has already been cut by £400million in the past year, while in some areas of England as many as one in four minor roads needs repairing.
With budgets frozen as inflation soars, it means a real-term fall of almost 10 per cent within a few years.
Research commissioned by the Lib Dems last year revealed that spending on road maintenance was at £1.78billion in 2020/21 but had fallen to £1.38billion by the financial year that ended in April 2022 – a drop of 22 per cent.
And annual funding is set to remain at the lower level for the next three years, which at current inflation forecasts will amount to a real-terms cut of 9.4 per cent – £130million – by 2025/26.
Overall, 4 per cent of A roads and 6 per cent of B and C roads across England are in need of repair, the analysis found.
Britain’s roads are ‘on the verge of catastrophe’, says the AA
With local authorities up and down the country setting their budgets for the coming financial year, the AA is concerned that councils could decide to cut back on road maintenance spending to balance the books elsewhere.
On rainy days since November, the AA’s vehicle recovery patrols have been called to – on average – an additional 225 breakdowns each day as a result of drivers hitting holes in the road surface often obscured by puddles.
It says the main pothole breakdowns are punctures, wheel damage and suspension problems.
The AA says it sees a spike in pothole-related recovery callouts from drivers in winter, especially when there is heavy rain and the craters can be hidden in the road ahead
Jack Cousens, head of roads policy for the AA, said: ‘Step out your front door and you won’t have to travel too far to find a pothole. Years of underinvestment in the nation’s roads means we are seeing more potholes develop than ever before.
‘While the North West and South East top the charts this time, most communities will say the main roads are usually in pretty good shape but the minor and residential roads are where the potholes create a menace (reflected in official road repair expenditure statistics).
‘Many of these are used for Active Travel and exercise, such as cycling. Dimmed street lights add to the threat in the dark.
‘It’s not just road surfaces that need upgrading. Worn road markings, damaged signs, streetlights no longer working, and overgrown hedgerow covering signs are all too common on UK roads.’
Mr Cousens adds: ‘Sadly, this all points towards a lack of funding or ring-fencing by both central and local government.
‘With tighter budgets planned, roads maintenance could be cut in favour other projects. Safe and maintained streets are vital for everyone regardless of how they use the roads, and we desperately need to see a massive cash-injection to upgrade local roads.
‘Until that happens, UK roads will continue to crumble and crack into catastrophe.’
Jonathan White, legal and compliance director at National Accident Helpline, believes that highways authorities need to take their responsibilities seriously to maintain roads, or they ‘risk triggering further fatalities’.
He told This is Money: ‘Tens of thousands of people are injured each year by potholes and other road defects.
‘Many people suffer significant injuries as a result of pothole accidents as pedestrians or cyclists, including brain and spinal injuries in the most serious cases.
‘The most common injuries tend to be ligament damages to ankles and knees and sprains and fractures to wrists.’
Yet, he says it is ‘not easy’ to bring a successful personal injury claim for potholes.
‘The courts are keen to ensure compensation is not awarded against councils unless they have clearly breached their legal duties and there is strong evidence proving what happened and what losses have been suffered,’ he explained.
‘However, where there has been genuine injury and the highway authority was at fault, it is only right and proper that people receive compensation to rebuild their lives.’
OUR FIVE-STEP GUIDE TO CLAIM FOR POTHOLE DAMAGE COMPENSATION
1. Collect the evidence
Make a note of where the pothole is located, the time and date you drove through it and take a photo of the damage to your vehicle. If you didn’t do this at the time of the incident, you can return to the scene of the crime to take pictures.
If possible, take your car to a garage and ask for a mechanic’s report in writing for the projected cost to fix the problem – or if your motor isn’t drivable, phone a reputable repair centre and request a quote.
2. Work out who is to blame
To make a claim for compensation, first you need to know who should pay out. If the pothole is on a motorway or main trunk road, the chances are it is a National Highways problem. For local roads, you will need to research which council is responsible.
Once you’ve identified the party you need to contact, request a copy of highway maintenance schedules and number of reported incidents on the particular road for the previous 14 days as evidence that the road hasn’t been properly maintained or a reported pothole hasn’t been addressed.
3. Make the claim
You’ll need to issue a formal claim and most responsible parties will have a template you can request.
4. What to do if you do – or don’t – get a compensation offer
After making the claim, you should be notified if compensation is being granted. Though you can still reject the value of the offer if you believe it isn’t sufficient, especially if you have evidence that the pothole had already been reported but the responsible party had not acted to rectify it.
If the council refuses compensation, you can seek legal advice or make a case through the courts. However, a word of warning that this could be a time-consuming process and is likely to be worthwhile only if the repair bill is considerable.
5. Final option: Make a claim through your insurance
If you have comprehensive cover you can claim for pothole damage on your insurance policy. However, it’s worth considering the cost of the damage as well as your excess payments and if this action will affect your No Claims Bonus.