FOLLOWING a report by the AA that shows the number of cars being damaged by potholes has reached a five-year high, Kent County Council (KCC) says it ‘remains focused’ on repairing damaged roads.
KCC are responsible for fixing potholes in Tunbridge Wells and across Kent.
Figures show that reported potholes in the county reached 5,510 between October 1 and December 19, 2023. This number has risen year-on-year, with 3,073 reported potholes in the same period of 2022, and 1,959 in 2021.
The figures are reports of potholes, not confirmed potholes, meaning some of these reports may be duplicated if more than one report for the same pothole was received.
Cllr Peter Lidstone (Lib Dem) and Cycling & Walking Champion for Tunbridge Wells Borough told the Times: “Yes, potholes are a big issue for drivers and cyclists alike. I have spoken to people who no longer feel safe to cycle because of the risk of falling down a pothole. The first thing I would do is remind residents to report potholes, as Kent County Council in my experience do repair them fairly quickly.
“There is a wider question about why the backlog is so large, and what the long-term solution is. The volume of cars on our roads continues to increase, as does their weight. Alongside funding for pothole repairs I would like to see proper funding for public transport and active travel, which have the power to reduce vehicle journeys, and ultimately save KCC constantly throwing money at more repairs.”
The Times reported on November 22 that KCC had received significant funds from central government to help with repairs. A KCC spokesperson said: “Following a nine-year high in the number of defects reported on our roads we welcomed the additional investment. This means that the total investment in road and footway safety critical maintenance, repairs and resurfacing for 2023/24 is expected to be in the order of £50million.
“This funding has allowed us to appoint additional contractors whilst also introducing new and innovative solutions to our operational portfolio including trialling new resurfacing methods and semi-automatic equipment.”
Nationally, research shows that the AA dealt with 631,852 pothole-related incidents in 2023, the highest for five years.